Velocity – Understanding Your Points

VelocityI started this project to help me find the right data points to assist not only with better iteration planning but also to help me plan future iterations with a solid estimate of what we typically complete. I started off by looking at our Velocity, typically the number you use but not something we find as a good predictor of success. To figure out why, I separated out, by iteration, our planned points, our actual points and the average of the actuals.

As you can see by the chart to the left, that gave a pretty clear picture of what we’ve done so far this year; we average 46 actual points per iteration but average 53 planned points. That’s basically a weeks’ worth of work that we’re off by. In doing this, I was curious to see how many points are actually being completed in the week after the iteration vs what we ended up carrying over to the next iteration either as a full or partial story.

What I found was that we very rarely complete during that week, in the six months that I am looking at only 10 points were done in total for an average of 2 BUT when you look at carry over you can see that we average 6 points per iteration – just a point shy of the variance between our average velocity numbers. 

Point CompletionWhat that says to me is that we’re not just having a task planning issue but that the scale with which we assign our points needs to be revisited. Very early on we decided that a 13 equaled a solid will-get-it-done in the iteration number and that a 20 was the upper might-get-it-done number. Now it looks like we shouldn’t be planning for any story that scores a 13 or above in a single iteration, that 13 needs to move into the upper might-get-it-done slot with a 10 being the better will-get-it-done in the iteration number. I think this also means we need to split our stories down into smaller pieces.



Our current iteration is planned with a total of 47 points, which is just above the actuals average, a very good test for this theory.

 Next up I need to take these charts and work on projections.



3 Responses to “Velocity – Understanding Your Points”
  1. What tool are you using to track Velocity? Thanks.

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