Getting work done is important but a simple to-do list or manual work management might not get be as efficient as you’d think. Contrarily, planning your way and devising a roadmap to reach the end goals makes the whole process much smoother and quicker. A velocity chart is a widely known tool in the project management arena.
A velocity chart is a great way of forecasting project completion rates and keeping an eye on the progress of your team. In this article, we will give you a rundown of velocity charts and how you can use them for your benefit.
What Does Velocity Mean in Project Management?
Before we jump into the details of the velocity chart, we would like to give you an idea of what is the velocity in project management. In science, velocity is a measure of distance covered at a specific time. The meaning does not differ a lot in the project management world.
What is the velocity in project management? Velocity, in project management, refers to the amount of work a team can accomplish in a set time period. Velocity project management gives PMs an idea about the rate at which a project will be delivered by the concerned team.
Measuring velocity can help teams track their performance over time, determine their progress rate, and identify how fast they can accomplish their tasks. It provides a clear view of the project deliverables and the rate at which goals will be accomplished.
Calculating Velocity in Agile Project Management
Your velocity fluctuates during the first 2 to 3 sprints, so it is advised that you complete a few sprints first and then calculate the average when the velocity has stabilized. A team’s velocity can help PMs determine how much work they can complete within the estimated time.
How to calculate velocity in project management? To calculate velocity, you have to add up story points from all the sprints and then calculate the average. The results indicate how many story points or work your team can accomplish in an average sprint.
How Is Velocity Helpful for Agile Teams?
Velocity helps agile teams on two fronts:
- Estimating Development Time: Velocity can help you determine how long a team will take in developing and delivering the finished product. For example, if you can determine the amount of time each task will take, you can determine the time for the completion of the whole project.
- Identifying The Potential of The Team: Increase or decrease in the velocity of a team reflects its performance. If a team’s velocity increases, it is indicative of improvement in their productivity and efficiency, it can also mean that your team is ready to take on more complex tasks. Lower velocity, however, indicates the opposite.
PMs can also use velocity as a Key Performance Indicator (KPI) to determine their team’s performance in the project.
What Is a Velocity Chart?
A velocity chart is a visual representation of your project’s status as well as how much work your team can accomplish in future sprints. With the help of the chart, you can determine how much work is left, how much you have accomplished, and how long the completion of the project will take.
With the increase in the number of sprints, the results become more accurate and reliable. The more data you receive, the more accurate your prediction of future sprints will be.
What Are the Uses of A Velocity Chart?
What is the velocity in project management used for? A velocity chart can come in handy in a number of ways. The following pointers will give you an idea of how helpful the chart is in your business:
- Helps you track the progress of a project.
- Helps you identify the predictability of future sprints. For example, if the chart shows a definite pattern, you can accurately predict future sprints but if the pattern is irregular then the project is an unpredictable one.
- The chart can also help you determine whether your team’s velocity is stable or changes regularly. If it stays stable then there is no change in your team’s performance however, ups and down can indicate improvement or deterioration in your team’s performance over time.
How To Read and Understand a Velocity Chart?
A velocity chart has the following points:
- y-axis: y-axis is a measure of story points. Story points are a measure of the effort required to complete a sprint.
- x-axis: x-axis displays the sprints completed by a team. A sprint indicates the time taken by a team to complete a task.
- Estimation: Estimation bars indicate the number of story points required for the completion of a sprint.
- Completion: Completion bars, in comparison, highlight the actual number of story points completed in one sprint.
An important point to note: A story point has to be 100% complete for it to be added to a sprint otherwise it is rolled over to the next sprint.
Key Benefits of The Velocity Chart:
Here are a few key benefits of the chart that make it a must-have for Agile teams:
1. Better Predictions
With the insights gained from the chart, you can make better and more accurate predictions about the capacity of your team. With the chart in sight, Scrum masters and project managers can make more precise predictions about the team that is whether it is capable of accomplishing a specific task or not.
As a project manager, you can view your team members’ progress through velocity charts easily. Although this is mentioned earlier in the post, visuals really do offer a bird’s eye view of what’s going on at a broader level.
In that sense, velocity charts can also be used by teams to identify the exact number of sprints they need to finish the job. Likewise, getting an estimate on the time frame, MVP, final deliveries, and anything that can most likely pend, goes on the list.
2. Identify Bottlenecks
With velocity charts, the “velocity” of the entire team is displayed in numbers for every iteration of sprints, epics, projects, and vice versa. In case of any problems, such as issues or last-minute risks tied to task dependencies, you can prevent them. They are also called bottlenecks.
Velocity charts help to see those bottlenecks ahead of the curve to prevent hiccups along the way. Some of the most common reasons for performance blockers are:
- Poor Team Communication
- You Have the MVP, But It’s Buggy
- Slow Turnover Rate At Teams’ End
3. Efficient Delivery
Once bottlenecks have been identified and dealt with, teams can focus on the timely delivery of high-quality products. In addition, teams with a higher velocity can help teams with a lower velocity catch up on their timeline.
Overall, a velocity chart can help teams stay on schedule, accomplish goals on time, deliver high-quality goods, and improve their efficiency and productivity.
Also, calculating average velocity can help make better plans for future sprints so that goals can be accomplished efficiently.
Formula to Calculate Velocity in Project Management
The formula for calculating velocity in project management is simple.
Divide the total amount of work completed by the time in which it was done.
Velocity = Total work completed / Time period
For example, if a team completes 20 points of work in a week, their velocity is 20 work points per week.
Many project management software tools have velocity-tracking features, making this process more efficient. These tools automatically track the time it takes to complete each task, the effort involved, and the number of work points completed. The data is then used to calculate project velocity accurately.
Having a deep understanding of velocity is essential for project managers because it helps them identify potential problems in the workflow and determine a course of action to manage the issues.
Project managers can use velocity data to forecast future project progress, revise schedules, track team performance, and adjust resources to keep pace with project goals.
In short, velocity in project management is a vital metric used to track project progress and team performance.
The velocity formula in project management is straightforward, and it allows project management teams to quickly gauge progress and identify any potential risks or issues.
By tracking the project velocity, managers can make sure that projects are completed on time and within budget, resulting in greater business success.
Challenges of Measuring Project Management Velocity
While measuring project management velocity is a valuable tool for evaluating progress and team performance in a project, there are several challenges associated with this process. Here are some of the common challenges of measuring project management velocity:
- Inaccurate or Incomplete Data: To calculate velocity accurately, you need complete and accurate data. However, teams may forget to log the time spent on a task or may not be tracking progress as effectively as they should. This can result in inaccurate data, making velocity estimates less reliable.
- Overestimating or Underestimating Effort: Estimating the effort required to complete a task can be challenging. The effort estimates may be overestimated or underestimated. This can have an impact on the accuracy of the velocity data, making it harder to track progress effectively.
- Inconsistent Definition of Work Points: Projects teams can use different criteria to define what constitutes a work point, or story point. It can lead to inconsistencies and make it harder to compare the velocity of different teams or projects accurately.
- Dynamic Scope: Projects’ scope can change or get adjusted throughout the project lifecycle, which can have a significant impact on project velocity. Velocity tracking assumes that the scope stays static, and changes in the project scope can make velocity data less reliable.
- Team Member Turnover: Team member changes can impact how work is performed, which can have an impact on project velocity. New team members may take time to get up to speed, which can slow down the project, affecting the velocity data.
Velocity Project Management with nTask:
With nTask, you have tons of areas where you can allocate resources to fuel velocity charts, and get separate insights that are relevant to the specific iteration of an activity.
Similarly, if you are working on Agile-centric projects, the tool offers workspaces, a timesheet management module, an integrated risk manager, custom fields, and of course, the meeting management feature. All of these perks are essential to velocity chart scalability for any number of projects.
So, why not sign up for nTask and give it a shot today? In case, you have tried some other PM software for velocity chart requirements, feel free to share your experiences by writing to us.
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