In a few entries on my blog, I have referred to Velocity and only briefly explained what it is. I think it’s about time I explain properly for those not familiar with it.

Velocity is terminology from the Scrum agile methodology and is basically the same concept as Earned Value in more traditional project management methods.

This is how it works…

  1. Select a regular time period over which to measure Velocity. If you’re using fixed Sprints or iterations, use that time period. Otherwise you can use weeks, fortnights or months. It doesn’t really matter which as long as you’re consistent.
  2. Add up the estimates for all the tasks/deliverables/features in your chosen time period. It doesn’t matter whether the estimates are in days, hours or even in relative points.
  3. Only include the estimates for any items that are 100% complete and signed off within the time period. Anything still in progress counts as zero, as there is no value in incomplete work.
  4. At the end of the chosen time period, the figure you have is your Velocity (or Earned Value).

You can then use your Velocity as a basis for your future commitments. As a result, it is self-correcting.

For example, let’s say you estimate in hours and track your Velocity in 2 week Sprints. You know, therefore, there are 70 hours available in a Sprint, but find you tend to deliver a Velocity of 50 hours (because of under-estimating and other interruptions throughout the day). Tracking this trend will allow you to commit to your ‘norm’ of 50 hours per Sprint in future, because you know that’s what you usually manage to achieve.

As a consequence of this approach, you don’t need to be any good at estimating, and don’t need to get any better at it. As long as you’re consistently bad, you will still get better at delivering on your commitments.

In my experience, it’s just as common for people to over-estimate by being too cautious. Velocity is also self-correcting this way around…

If, for example, you find you tend to reach a Velocity of 90 hours in your 70 hour Sprint, you are probably not a super-hero code warrier that eats problems for breakfast. You are probably just being too cautious in your estimating. In this case, in future commit to 90 hours. This might sound counter-intuitive, but go on. I dare you 🙂

Although Velocity and Earned Value are project management techniques, why not know your own Velocity. If you do, you’ll find you can gauge much more accurately how much work you can really commit to. Even if you’re lousy at estimating!

And guess what? Everyone loves someone who delivers on their promises.

Kelly.

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Posts

Six Actionable Nuggets of Advice for Becoming a First-time Technology NED

If the pandemic has taught companies anything it’s that tech is not something that you put off and think about ‘later’. The last year has seen organisations go through huge digital transformations, whether planned or otherwise. And for those that aren’t technology-based companies, getting the right board-level advice can not only be hard to find, but the difference between success

Read More »

Culture, Skills, and Capabilities // How to become a more data-driven organisation

In our whitepaper “How to become a more data-driven organisation”, we wrote about the five steps that an organisation would need to take, which are: Outcomes: Defining goals and metrics to ensure clear and measurable outcomes Analytics: Implementing and sharing the analytics to improve data-driven decision making Innovation: Testing assumptions through hypothesis testing and learning Data Platform: Gaining new insights

Read More »

Data Platform // How to become a more data-driven organisation

This is the fourth article in our series on “How to become a more data-driven organisation”, and we are going to be focusing on Data Platforms. It is at this point that most people start to dive deep into the technical aspects of Data Lakes vs Data Warehouses, but we want to bring us back up a level and ask

Read More »

Search the Blog

Agile Management Made Easy!

All About Agile

By Kelly Waters

“’Agile’ is one of the biggest buzzwords of the last decade. Agile methods often come across as rather more complicated than they really are. This book is an attempt to unravel that complexity. To simplify the concepts. This book breaks the concepts into small bite-sized pieces that are easy to understand and easy to implement and delivers the message in a friendly and conversational style. Allaboutagile.com is one of the most popular blogs about agile on the web. ”

Kelly Waters

Agile 101 is available to purchase. GAME ON!

Agile 101

Emma Hopkinson-Spark

“Whilst there are lots of ways you can vary the game depending on the teams you have and the learning outcomes you want, the basic flow of the game play is common to all.”
Emma Hopkinson-Spark

Why did we make the game?

How to play the game?

London

101 Ways Limited
145 City Rd
London
EC1V 1AZ
United Kingdom

Amsterdam

101 Ways BV
Weesperstraat 61-105
1018 VN Amsterdam
Netherlands

Contact Us

If you would like to get in touch with one of the team at 101 Ways, then please fill out the form below or email us at contact-us@101ways.com.