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55078Re: Velocity Question

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  • David A Barrett
    May 9, 2012
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      Oh man.  There's so much so wrong with this whole question.

      First, I'm beginning to think that "velocity" should be considered a dirty word around here.  We see so many people asking questions and talking about it in ways that clearly indicate that it's being misused.  

      One point at a time then:

      1.  The goal is to look at past performance to determine the correct amount of work for the Team to commit to for the next Sprint.
      2.  How much ESTIMATED work was done in Sprint 1?  30 SP worth of completed stories, and 16 worth of uncompleted stories.
      3.  How much work should you put into Sprint 2?  I'd aim at about 45 SP, based on past performance, but....
      4.  One Sprint is NO WHERE NEAR ENOUGH HISTORICAL DATA to gauge past performance.  So...
      5.  Ask the Team what went on.  Ask them if their experience in Sprint 1 would cause them to refine any of their estimates.
      6.  Ask the Team how much work they are willing to commit to for Sprint 2.
      7.  Your stories are probably too big, if you even have the chance for some of them to be partially completed.  Split them up.
      8.  What do you tell management?  Tell them to "Go away and leave the Team alone, it's only Sprint 2".

      The Scrum rules say that the Team doesn't get "credit" (whatever the hell that is) for partially completed tasks.  Tasks are either complete or not.  But, velocity isn't really part of Scrum, it's just a tool that Scrumistas use (and is seem even more often, misuse) to help planning.  So you'll want to define it in a way that makes your planning the easiest.  So I'd count partially completed stories for purposes of calculating velocity.  But, if I can be allowed to channel Ron for a moment, if partially completed stories are making you bend your velocity rules, then stop having partially complete stories.

      That being said, partially completed stories are something that you want to get rid of.  Re-engineer your planning process to make partially completed stories impossible.

      Finally, the whole thing has a smell.  You missed on nearly half the stories in the first Sprint, yet you put even more work into the second Sprint???????  Even smellier, the Team somehow achieved on the bigger second Sprint??????  Bearing in mind that 2 Sprints are way too few to actually identify any patterns or trends, it still looks like there might be some kind of non-Scrum dynamic building in the way work was included in the second Sprint and completed.  Was there pressure applied?  Were the results fudged?  Was the DoD actually met?

      Dave Barrett

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