What Is a Velocity Chart in Agile?

Looking for a more accurate way to forecast projects, predict effort, and manage resources? Making a velocity chart in Agile is one of the easiest ways to do all of that and more. Discover everything you need to know about how to calculate velocity, maximize the usefulness of this data, and what project managers can do with this information. 

What is velocity in Agile?

Velocity in the traditional sense means the speed at which something takes place. In project management, velocity means the same thing. How long is it going to take to finish a project? You can also ask, what is going to get done over the course of an existing project? 

"The role of the PM is first and foremost to create an environment in which the PM's team can be successful — nothing more, nothing less," explains Chris Field, Global PMO Manager. Using velocity in Agile is one of the best methods for finding out what a team’s potential really is. Measuring it can uncover new ways to improve processes. 

What is a velocity chart in Agile?

A velocity chart in Agile highlights the overall journey of your project within the given confines of the Agile project management method. The velocity graph shows how much work you have left to do and how much time you have left to do it. Overall, it gives project managers a sense of what their teams can accomplish in future sprints between now and the end of the project. 

How do you make a velocity calculation?

To make a velocity calculation you need to add up the sum of all story points from a previous sprint or sprints. Then, create an average of those numbers to figure out the velocity. This will give you a good projection of how long each future sprint should take. 

Do not include incomplete sprints because they'll throw off the calculation. Instead, focus on what can actually be completed within the given time frame. The end result will be either a whole number or a decimal number. It represents how many story points can be completed within an average sprint for your team using this specific project velocity. A new velocity should be calculated for each unique project. 

What are the benefits of measuring Agile velocity?

Measuring Agile velocity makes it easier for project managers to forecast accurately, determine what additional resources are needed for any given objective, and to create a visual guide that keeps everyone on the same page at all times. Measuring Agile velocity also makes it easier to navigate remote Agile teamwork when various members are in different parts of the world or with varying schedules and availability.  

“We are no longer constrained to the 40-hour workweek,” says Bill Fournet, project manager researcher and lecturer. “It's a 24/7 world, where the speed of change is ever increasing. It has only been within the last few years that we are no longer being led by a generation of traditional workers who want security, stability, and a predictable work schedule, but rather by a group of up and comers who value the technological space age we have recently entered.” 

As globalization continues to be a factor in project management, Agile velocity will be needed more than ever to properly assess workloads and set realistic expectations given all the variabilities in employee time. 

What are the challenges of measuring Agile velocity?

The biggest challenge of measuring Agile velocity is the variety that can occur within a given project. Because velocity is the measure of the average of how long it takes to complete a sprint, you may find that previous sprints are not reflective of future spreads and therefore your velocity number doesn't quite add up.

For example, you may have different team members working on some sprints but not others. Or future sprints may have a variety of tasks that each contain vastly different effort levels than previous ones. Still, measuring Agile velocity does give project planners a data-backed estimate they can use as a starting point when making their calculations. 

Does a velocity chart in Agile have any relevance to burn charts?

Velocity charts in Agile and burndown charts complement each other well. While a velocity chart in Agile measures how long it will take to complete the remaining tasks, a burndown chart details what is left to be done. In both charts, story points are used to define task effort, so project managers can estimate how many of these units of measurement can be complete (velocity) and what needs to be completed (burn) before the end of the project.

How to manage velocity in Wrike

You can manage a velocity chart in Wrike by using an Agile planning method to break down greater project goals into phases then steps then sprints. Your next immediate sprint should be the most detailed whereas the rest should be left somewhat flexible to handle changes that come up throughout the project. 

Each sprint should last two to four weeks and have a clear deliverable at the end. Within Wrike, you can assign tasks to specific team members, designate the amount of time each individual task will take, and even give the task or subtasks their own deadlines

You can also set up task dependencies that allow users to get automatic notifications when a task they were waiting on has been marked as complete. This helps streamline communication and gets the ball moving faster. 

Wrike even provides a visual representation of project velocity data and progress, so all team members are on the same page about what is left to be accomplished and what time frame it must be completed in. That’s what makes team velocity visual and easy-to-understand at a glance. 

Finally, users can set up Scrum workflows within their Agile project management plan to standardize how the work gets done in addition to what work gets done.

Conquer project velocity with Wrike

A velocity chart in Agile helps sum up how much work was completed in a given sprint which is highly valuable information for future planning. Although there are challenges, the benefits of having an estimate backed by real data are significant. Conquer project velocity, team velocity, velocity charts, and even Agile project management by using Wrike’s two-week free trial to explore how this effective method can boost your team’s productivity.

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