February 09, 2021
0 min read

What is scrum velocity and how do we calculate it?

What is scrum velocity and how do we calculate it?.png

Let’s begin by defining our terms. According to scrum.org, scrum is:

“A framework within which people can address complex adaptive problems, while productively and creatively delivering products of the highest possible value.”

When we talk about scrum velocity, we talk about the number of user story points completed in each sprint. By user stories, we mean informal and naturally written descriptions of a feature in a software development project. We should write user stories from the perspective of the end-user. When measuring scrum velocity the development team uses story points. According to Atlassian:

“Story points are units of measure for expressing an estimate of the overall effort required to fully implement a product backlog item or any other piece of work. Teams assign story points relative to work complexity, the amount of work, and risk or uncertainty.”

Story points in agile replaced time estimates. Waterfall and other traditional project management methodologies use time estimates. In waterfall software development project managers and owners project in weeks or days. Using agile teams have more flexibility and chances to learn from previous experience.

Scrum velocity means the number of new features a software development team can complete in a sprint. The scrum velocity metric allows teams to plan future sprints. It allows them to examine past work. They note bottlenecks and bugs that slow projects down.

Learn more about user stories and other features in the "Epic, Story, and Tasks in Agile" article.

The scrum velocity metric is a later addition to agile methodology. Velocity comes to agile and scrum from the world of extreme programming (XP). In 2000, people in extreme programming began using the term velocity. Velocity replaced “load factor.”  In 2002, scrum communities began measuring velocity as a way to refine their processes and self-regulate.

Teams use velocity along with other metrics, such as sprint burndown, and ROI (return on investment). This allows teams to plan and fine-tune their process. With constant attention to process, they can best plan and put in place necessary changes.

Read on other Scrum metrics to improve the effectiveness of your project.

In planning a sprint, the scrum master and product owner will try and estimate velocity. They will base the estimate on the team’s past performance. Newer teams usually have less velocity than more seasoned teams. Development teams deep into a project will typically have a better velocity than teams at the beginning of a project. Teams can improve their velocity by about 10% each sprint.

Measuring scrum velocity allows teams to estimate future sprints, revising the sprint plan to match the team’s capacity.

How do we calculate scrum velocity?

First, in the sprint planning meeting, the scrum master leads the team in determining how many user story points the team will aim to complete. The development team weighs in and they estimate the number of story points they will try to finish in the sprint. Let’s say the development team decides to complete 35 story points in the sprint. The number of completed story points is the scrum velocity. Scrum velocity does not count incomplete story points, even those a bit short of finished. In our example, the team completes 32 story points and pushes 3 story points to the next sprint. The team earns a scrum velocity of 32.

This number proves useful, but not as useful as the average of several scrums. Let’s imagine our software development team finishes the next four sprints with scrum velocities of 35, 27, and 38. The average of these sprints’ scrum velocity gives the scrum master and development team a better idea of how the team performs over several sprints. This enables them to plan future sprints with more insight and accuracy. More information gives the team more power.

Related post: Converting Story Points to Hours: Why Doesn’t It Work?

Software development teams can better understand scrum velocity by creating a scrum velocity chart. A scrum velocity chart allows for a quick visual comparison between different sprints. The team can map the velocity by creating a simple bar chart. The y-axis shows story points and the x-axis shows the individual sprints.

Why is velocity important in scrum?

Why do we care about the scrum velocity metric? Measuring scrum velocity allows software development teams to plan sprints with more accuracy. Without measuring scrum velocity, teams cannot engage in accurate release planning.  As teams complete later sprints they can see how their workflow changes. They can decide how many story points they can handle in each sprint. This keeps the software development team from taking on too many tasks in a sprint. Product owners can use scrum velocity to revise their delivery estimates based on the changes in scrum velocity.  Measuring velocity will help teams decide which changes are helping their processes and what is not working. 

But development teams need to take caution with scrum velocity. They should not use scrum velocity in a punitive manner. Product owners should not use scrum velocity to compare one team to another. Since scrum velocity is a subjective metric, teams should use it only to compare one sprint to another. Scrum velocity also refers to the output of the entire software development team. Scrum velocity does not apply to Individual team members. Using velocity in these ways undermines transparency. Teams that feel they are being compared in such a way will be less honest.  

Here at Blocshop, we use scrum velocity along with other metrics such as Time to market, team satisfaction,  and ROI (return on investment). These metrics form the KPIs (key performance indicators) that we implement to deliver software development projects on-time and under budget. If you would like to learn more about how Blocshop uses these agile metrics, please do get in touch.

Learn more from our insights

April 14, 2024

Enhancing ERP Systems with AI Chatbots

Explore how AI chatbots can transform ERP systems, enhancing efficiency, decision-making, and user interaction.

best large language models for ERP systems.png
March 31, 2024

Language Models Best Suited for Integration into ERPs

Four prominent large language models stand out for their compatibility and effectiveness in ERP system processes and automation. See what they are.

hybrid ERPs.png
March 21, 2024

Hybrid ERP: An Innovative Approach to Enterprise Resource Planning

Hybrid ERP is a blend of cloud and on-premise solutions. With expertise in both, Blocshop is uniquely positioned to help you with hybrid ERP development and implementation.

0-4 cover.png
October 03, 2023

IT Staffing: Individual Hiring vs. Specialized Developer Teams

Should you hire individual developers or go for a specialized, custom-built developer team?

July 17, 2023

ChatGPT-3.5: An Overview and Limitations

In this article, we'll take a closer look at the capabilities and limitations of ChatGPT-3.5, providing you with a comprehensive overview of what it can do and what its boundaries are. So, let's delve into the inner workings of this large language model.

gpt4 vs gpt3-5 and the key differnces.png
June 15, 2023

A Deep Dive into GPT-4 vs GPT-3.5 Differences and Ability to Revolutionize Software Development

There are key differences between ChatGPT-3.5 and ChatGPT-4 that software developers and companies procuring software solutions alike should be aware of. Let's see how these differences affect the output generated by these models on specific examples.

May 09, 2023

AI-powered software development: What CTOs need to know in 2023

As technology continues to evolve at a rapid pace in 2023 and beyond, CTOs must stay ahead of the curve by utilizing predictive analytics, automated testing processes, and deployment solutions.

May 05, 2023

How Artificial Intelligence is changing web development

AI technology is now being used in many different industries, including web development. It’s important to understand the impact that AI can have on web development as it can help companies to create more efficient and user-friendly websites.

May 05, 2023

How AI-powered software development is changing the role of the CTO

As AI-powered software development becomes increasingly commonplace, CTOs must prepare themselves to take on a new set of responsibilities that require more than just technical know-how.

April 17, 2023

How to build a minimum viable product (MVP)

The MVP is the version of a new product that allows Blocshop and your team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least amount of effort. The essence of your core idea is delivered as a barebones solution. The solutions is, however, sufficient for usage by early adopters. As a product, it has tangible qulities that express a look and feel.

March 21, 2023

10 AI tools for developers you should know about in 2023

For developers, programmers, and data scientists, AI coding solutions can free up thinking time, allowing such professionals to focus on the fundamentals of their projects, and complete such projects much faster.

February 14, 2023

17 Ideas for Web Apps in 2023

Gazillions of web apps and ideas for web apps are floating around the metaverse - so creating one that properly represents a unique brand is a huge challenge. Our list provides a number of areas of simple app ideas to help businesses transform their online presence through a web app.

Top 15 micro-SaaS ideas for your startup in 2023.png
December 06, 2021

Top 15 micro-SaaS ideas for your startup in 2022

What exactly do we mean by micro SaaS? Micro Saas solutions use a web browser or mobile app interface. Micro SaaS solutions usually come about through the effort of an individual or very small team. It aims to solve precise problems. Micro SaaS projects have small budgets and overhead. Customers use Micro SaaS solutions on a monthly or yearly subscription basis. Micro SaaS projects target a small niche of the consumer market.

Software engineer hourly rates in 2021 (based on experience and location).png
November 22, 2021

Software engineer hourly rates in 2022 (based on experience and location)

Region influences salary more than any other factor. Taxes rates, cost of living, and government benefit programs affect the rates software developers charge. Software developers in the USA  and Canada earn more than software developers in other countries.

The best programming languages for app development in 2022.png
November 15, 2021

The best programming languages for app development in 2022

Software developers usually have three main ways to create an app. They can choose to code a native app, a hybrid app or a progressive web app. Developers create native apps to function on one specific platform, usually either iOS or Android. They create these apps using Swift or Objective C for iOS. For Android they use C++, Kotlin or several other languages. 

Cross-platform mobile app development: Tools & frameworks for 2022.png
November 09, 2021

Cross-platform mobile app development: Tools & frameworks for 2022

The cross-platform development project aims to create apps compatible with several operating systems. Cross-platform apps work on iOS, Android, and Windows. Cross-platform apps look and feel like apps developed specifically for the operating system.

App development cost breakdown in 2022.png
November 08, 2021

App development cost breakdown in 2022

Your business needs an app, but you aren’t sure about the cost of creating an app. Without some figures, you can’t even begin to estimate the potential budget, so let’s get you sorted with the information you need to make your app a reality.

November 04, 2021

Web app development: a detailed guide

The best web apps give a responsive and engaging user experience through a browser instead of a single application. Think of web app development as a super-charged website. Web apps have many features of mobile apps coded for iOS or Android without the need to code for specific platforms. Developers create web apps using HTML, javascript, Python and CSS.

15 useful web app development tools for 2021.png
October 29, 2021

15 useful web app development tools for 2022

Web development vs app development: Choose the best for your business.png
October 19, 2021

Web development vs app development: Choose the best for your business