CHOW #266 – Can you help Aditi to Improve her Team’s Sprint Velocity?

Aditi is a Scrum Master for an Agile Team building a SaaS product which is in the Marketing Technology domain. Aditi just got off a call with her manager and he was asking her about her Team’s Sprint Velocity. He has set her a target of improving the velocity over next 3 months. Aditi was defending with her boss that her team is already very good.

Can you help Aditi with some levers to improve the Sprint Velocity?

Suggested solution:

This is a most common challenge Agile teams face. Sprint Velocity is linked to Story Points and over a period of time Teams mature delivering Story Points in a certain Rhythm. Continuous Improvement is certainly one of the core values of Lean-Agile thinking. However, a narrow focus on Sprint Velocity as a stand-alone metric leads to un-desirable behaviours within teams.

Aditi should first of all stay grounded on the Value the team is delivering through Stories. She should not get into the temptation of tweaking Story Points in isolation.

As opposed to a common belief that Velocity can be improved upon only through Agile delivery, she can look for levers in all three Practice Areas:

  • Product Discovery Practices – ensure that the ‘what’ of the product and ‘who’ the product is being built for are well understood. Stories are written from the customer perspective.
  • Product Delivery Practices – ensure ‘how’ the product being built is using long-term thinking and with less accumulation of Technical debt.
  • Product Deployment Practices – ensure getting answers quickly around ‘did we build the right thing’.
What do you think?

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