- What is Team Velocity?
- Team Velocity Strategies
- Streamlining Team Velocity
Team velocity is a significant factor in the development of software products. It identifies the productivity level of a team. As a result, a company can predict the number of products and functions it can deliver over the course of the year.
This is why tech companies search for ways to build effective product teams and improve team velocity.
This post outlines what team velocity is and sets out five key strategies to streamline it.
What is Team Velocity?
Team velocity refers to the number of features developed and delivered in an iteration. In agile development models, some teams produce features at a quicker rate. By calculating their velocity, they gain a sense of project completion times.
As a result, businesses can estimate which teams are most productive. They can also estimate when to launch new digital products and projects.
Take a telecommunications SaaS company as an example. Such a company may create features and products for a VoIP service. As the company works to create a new VoIP headset, it needs to know timelines for its departments.
Similarly, when adding new features to the VoIP service, managers will want to know when they can deliver these. Team velocity data is especially valuable in the lead-up to product and update releases.
How to calculate team velocity
To calculate team velocity, you multiply your stories by your sprints. “Stories” refer to the features developed or tasks completed. We call a given time period a “sprint”.
You assign points to your stories and sprints and then multiply them. Say your team completes 10 tasks in two weeks. They thus managed 10 stories in two sprints. Over two weeks, the team’s velocity is 20. By repeating this method, you can average the velocity over several months.
A simple way to calculate team velocity.
The benefits of measuring team velocity
Teams use velocity to gauge the time it takes to complete deliverables. This information helps project managers understand a team’s productivity levels. When the time comes to create new products, management already has an idea of when they can launch. They can also recognize any workplace productivity issues early on.
By measuring team velocity, management and leaders can:
- Determine average team productivity levels
- Manage the team workload
- Create development roadmaps
- Set expectations for stakeholders
- Build teams with better processes
Team velocity challenges
Like anything, team velocity monitoring isn’t perfect. In some instances, you can rely on team velocity data to plan ahead, yet there are also times when calculations require additional information. Challenges include:
- It isn’t always precise
- You’re working with estimates
- Short-term projects may not provide enough team data
- New teams have little velocity data to work with
It’s essential to understand team velocity before you try to streamline it. Your company needs to recognize the best ways to incorporate this data and how to create a work schedule that avoids burnout.
With this information, you can identify successful processes and add them to training programs for other employees. A company can thus improve its software products and delivery dates in only a short amount of time.
Team Velocity Strategies
It can be challenging to increase team velocity if you don’t know where to look or how to do it. Every company wants to have the most productive employees and teams because productive teams mean better products and higher profits.
Here are five ways to improve your team velocity.
1. Set targets
Identify and set specific targets for your development teams – for example, to create a software product that provides the best video conferencing for small business ventures. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with lofty goals, it can be better to focus on smaller targets to start with.
By setting targets, it’s easier for a company to save time and avoid distractions. Team members will focus on completing their stories in the given timeframe and have a baseline to work from.
Many companies have scrum masters that track the development of stories. Their job is to ensure the development team can stay focused. That way, they complete their stories in the expected time frame.
2. Ensure regular communication and collaboration
Agile teams need to communicate. They’re likely creating several different aspects of a product at the same time. Team members and scrum masters must know when there’s a spanner in the works.
There are several tools enabling agile teams to communicate effectively. For example, they can use instant messaging software to offer small updates. This ensures your teams are in constant communication.
In other situations, your development team may need more in-depth conversations. Using video conferencing software will allow them to hold a regular virtual meeting. This provides a platform to discuss and brainstorm products and features.
It’s easy to collaborate with external and remote team members too. This allows companies to identify talented developers and outsource work to them. The right talent will improve your team’s velocity no end.
3. Workload management and tracking
Managers must create the right balance between their employees’ workload and company expectations. It’s vital that scrum masters and leaders manage and track the work of team members.
Burnout is something every company must strive to avoid. Today, 68 percent of tech workers feel more burned out than they did in the office. When teams are battling burnout, it can be difficult to perform to the required standard.
Identify how each team member works. Eliminate roadblocks so their work is easier to complete. Offer flexibility in the methods used to develop new features, and avoid unnecessary tasks. By improving work processes and workload, you can help your development team to grow their velocity in the long term.
4. Analyze sprints
Companies enact processes that enable them to create great software products. After each task is completed, development teams should analyze their methods. Your team needs to sprint code securely and efficiently. It’s beneficial to identify areas and processes to improve. This tracked velocity data will highlight issues your team faces.
With data, it’s easy to compare your productivity levels across sprints. You can get an average team velocity reading across several weeks. A scrum master may discover some sprints are more productive than others. With that information, they can uncover the things hindering and helping their team.
Use this information to eliminate the processes that are slowing your development team down. Such self-reflection will enable your company to improve the quality of its output, so you can produce great products in the shortest possible timeframe.
5. Provide training
The tech industry moves and develops faster than most. Team members must learn new technologies, frameworks, and syntaxes. It’s challenging to create features and add functionality that beats the competition. That’s why team members need to understand the technology and processes they’re using.
Consider training your software development teams to improve velocity. It’s faster to create new products with team members that understand the technologies employed. As technologies change or improve, your team will need to improve too. Are they using the tools provided effectively?
A team using conference calling software may need specific features that are currently unavailable to them. You could consider adopting RingCentral alternatives as a solution. Offer training to ensure all team members are comfortable with the tools at their disposal.
Streamlining Team Velocity
You can improve team velocity in several different ways. This post, for example, identified five strategies that will help your team to create and produce at a higher rate.
Set clear and attainable goals. Communicate often and track productivity levels. Analyze your work at regular intervals, then provide additional training where necessary. Put these tips to work today to benefit your business.