Thursday, December 21, 2006

Velocity and more

Here is nice article from Mike Cohn about Velocity

I find that one of the most common mistakes teams make is to use the
term "velocity" to refer to both
--the number of points (or ideal days) finished in a sprint
--the amount of planned work completed in a sprint

It is far more useful to use velocity to refer to the amount of
points finished in a sprint. The amount of work planned in a sprint
will be relatively constant sprint to sprint. This is essentially the
Y (vertical) intercept of a sprint burndown chart. If you need a term
for that call it "capacity." The tough concept for some teams to get
is that capacity (# of hours of work planned into a sprint) isn't
clearly correlated to the # of hours worked in a sprint. To make it
simple, consider me a team of one doing a one-week sprint. I will
work 40 hours this week. If I'm a perfect estimator (impossible) I
can say "I'll answer email for 20 hours this week (I wish!) and spend
20 developing; let me pull in 20 hours of work during sprint
planning." However suppose I'm not perfect and that my backlog items
have some uncertainty. Over time I may find that when I see a pile of
work and say "that's 15 hours" that this is the amount that perfectly
fills up my 40 hour workweek. I may get 25 hours of time on task to
do what I called 15 or I may get the 15 done in 12. It won't matter.
What matters is that what I call 15 fills up my week. That's how to
plan sprints and to work with capacity.

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