Velocity Chart in Project Management - Explained

Velocity Chart in Project Management - Explained

Do you need a tool that helps accurately forecast projects, deal with resources, and predict efforts? A simple to-do list won't work here, and manual work management won't be as effective as you think.

However, developing a roadmap and planning your way toward reaching an end goal makes this process quicker and smoother. This is where the velocity chart comes in.

As a widely accepted tool in project management, the velocity chart allows you to predict project completion rates, keep an eye on your team, and monitor project progress. This article will focus on the velocity chart, explain its role in project management, and help you use this tool to your advantage.

What Is Velocity in Project Management?

Before moving to the velocity chart, we would like to explain what velocity in project management means. In the scientific field, velocity represents the distance covered at a specific time, which explains the same term in project management.

It refers to the amount of work your team needs to complete within a specific timeframe. This is how project managers and scrum masters can predict the completion time because velocity gives them an estimate and a rate at which the project will be delivered.

Measuring velocity is a great way to track your team's performance, evaluate their progress rate, and see how fast they can complete their work. It also provides a precise overview of project deliverables and shows how fast goals can be achieved.

How Do You Calculate Velocity in Project Management?

Before you start calculating velocity, it's essential to complete at least five sprints. This allows your team members who are new to agile project management to get familiar with the workflow. In the beginning, velocity will fluctuate but stabilize after three or more sprints have been completed.

To calculate velocity, you must add up the sum of all story points from previous sprints. A result is an average number, which helps you figure out velocity. From there, it's easy to predict how long each future sprint will take.

Focus only on complete sprints and disregard the incomplete ones because they will disrupt your calculation. Eventually, you should end up with a whole or decimal number. This number shows how many story points you can complete within an average sprint in agile development. Make sure to calculate the new velocity for each project.

What Is a Velocity Report?

A velocity report shows how much work each sprint has delivered. This is a great way to estimate the amount of work your team can perform in future sprints. You could attend sprint planning meetings, which help you assess how much work your team can handle.

Once you receive a velocity report, it's important to know how to read it properly. It contains two axes, the vertical one is used for estimating stories, and the horizontal one displays previous sprints completed by the team. As mentioned previously, we use this data to calculate velocity.

The Commitment bar for each sprint indicates the total estimates of all tasks in the sprint when it starts. After the sprint has started, you won't be able to add any stories or make any changes.

The Completed bar in each sprint displays the total complete estimates when the sprint ends. Even though the sprint has started, any changes you make are included in the total.

What Are Velocity and Burn-down Charts?

A velocity chart represents the status of your project, and it determines the completion rate of your task while helping you plan the next sprint. Also, it enables you to estimate the rest of the work, view how much you can finish, and how long it will take you to complete the project.

You need to increase the number of sprints to get accurate results, and the more data you receive, the more accurate the prediction of your future sprints will be.

On the other hand, the burn-down chart shows the progress visually. It measures your work on a daily basis, but it can also show how much work is completed in a particular milestone. Based on your team's estimate, the rest of the work left is known as a well. You can use burn charts to evaluate your team's engagement, see how fast your team members are working, and monitor how adding or removing work during the sprint has affected your team's performance. Also, a burn-down chart is usually represented by a line chart.

In project management software such as ActiveCollab, you can create tasks, add descriptions, assignees, set start and due dates, and then leave comments to discuss their progress.

Does the Velocity Chart Track Progress?

According to many, the velocity chart is the most helpful metric an Agile team can follow to track team capacity and work progress. This chart allows you to gain insight and make better and more accurate predictions directly impacting progress.

Project managers and Scrum masters can make more precise predictions about the team and whether team members can complete a specific task or not. Velocity metrics are crucial when planning a budget or resource allocation.

Velocity Chart Example

Let's give an example of velocity and how you can turn this data into a chart. Imagine you want to complete four user stories in a 2-week sprint. After you complete an estimate, you end up with something like this:

  • Story 1 – 3 points;
  • Story 2 – 5 points;
  • Story 3 – 5 points;
  • Story 4 – 8 points

Combined, they make 21 points per iteration. If your team is able to complete this in two weeks, then your velocity will be 21 points. Next, imagine you've been through four iterations, and your velocity for them looks like this:

  • Iteration 1: 21 points
  • Iteration 2: 13 points
  • Iteration 3: 28 points
  • Iteration 4: 15 points

That's a total of 77 points, divided by four iterations: 19-story points. You can use this data and transfer it into a chart, which is known as a velocity chart and consists of sprints and story points.

Velocity Graph in Agile

A velocity graph in Agile highlights the entire journey of your projects. This chart shows how much work is left to do and how much time you have to finish everything.

In a nutshell, the velocity graph in Agile helps project managers realize what their team can accomplish in future sprints between now and the end of the project.

Now that you have the necessary information, it's time to conquer velocity and manage it by using an Agile planning method. ActiveCollab is a comprehensive project management tool that will help you implement Agile methods. It offers a variety of possibilities for project managers, and it can be used to control and monitor the velocity of sprints and team progress and create useful reports.

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