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Agile Team Velocity

Posted by Anahita | Posted in Agile | Posted on 29-12-2011

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In this article, I am going to explain the Agile Team Velocity. I will use some scrum related terminologies, so please if you are not familiar with the definition of  any of these keywords, see  my post Quick Scrum Keywords.

When an Agile team starts an iteration, the goal is to deliver value through completion of the committed user stories. Each user story has a very important attribute: the story points!

Story points are the estimated measure of the complexity of each story.  Agile teams do not have to estimate the work in number of days or hours, but in the size of the user story. I will write about this in more details in future.

The velocity of the team is simply the total number of story points for the accepted user stories for each iteration. I have to stress in the word “accepted user story” as if the story has not delivered the value for the user, it is not marked as accepted and so its points does not count towards the velocity, although the team may have worked on that story the majority of their time during the iteration.

Lets make this more clear with a simple example:

An Agile team with two weekly iterations, selected and committed to three user stories, with the estimated story points of  3, 5 and 13. At the sprint demo, the team demonstrated  the completed user stories to the related stakeholders and obtained acceptance on only two user stories with the story points of 3 and 13.  So the velocity of the team is 16 irrespective of the fact that the team may have spent three days on the user story that was not accepted.

The velocity of the team may change as the project progresses. This is based on two very important and  clever features of Agile projects: learning and feedback. As the team starts to understand their own capabilities and the stakeholders expectations, they starts to get better in  estimating the work they can commit to.  This will improve the number of accepted users stories and so the accuracy of the team’s velocity!

During the next sprint, the team picks four user stories with 3, 5, 5 and 5 story points. All these are accepted at the sprint demo, and so the team velocity is increased to 18. Simple!

Quick Scrum Keywords

Posted by Anahita | Posted in Agile | Posted on 28-12-2011

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,


Scrum is an agile framework for the definition, execution and delivery of the project outcome. I put together a “Quick Scrum Keywords” to help new scrum teams to learn and use the correct scrum terminology.



Product Owner: Part of the Scrum Team, responsible for defining the product requirements and prioritizing them.

Scrum Master: The scrum facilitator and process owner.

Team Member: Technical delivery team such as architects, developers, testers, and DBAs.

Stakeholder: All that can benefit from the outcome of  the project such as end users, business domain experts, etc.

Product Vision: The Business Case for the product aligned to the Business Strategy.

Product Backlog: An ordered list of requirements for the product.

Release Backlog: A subset of Product Backlog selected for a specific release.

Sprint Backlog: A subset of Release Backlog selected for the delivery in a sprint.

User Story: An Independent, Negotiable, Valuable, Estimable, Small, Testable  product requirement.

User Story Estimation: The process of collective estimation of each User Story in the Release Backlog by the team.

Sprint Demo: The demonstration of completed user stories to the stakeholders, by the team.

Sprint Retrospective: Session by the team to review the sprint and lessons learnt.

Daily Standup: Daily meeting of maximum 15 minutes by the team, to discuss the daily tasks and any impediments.

Release Burndown:  A chart showing  the remaining story points at the end of each sprint within a release.

Sprint Burndown: A chart showing  the remaining work at the end of each day.

Story Board:  A board divided to vertical lines, showing the progress of each story in a sprint, from Unassigned, to In Progress and Done.

Capacity: A measure of team’s performance in story points.

Velocity: A measure of team’s speed.

Story Points: A measure of complexity for each story.