Can Velocity be an indicator of a Scrum Team's Maturity?

First things first, why "Velocity" alone, when there are many other factors (requirements, estimations, defects, automation etc) which would help arrive at a Team's maturity? So, with so many other factors in the ambit, why does this session emphasizes on "Velocity" alone, while I could have just easily entitled this session as "Various factors influencing a Team's Maturity"?

Let me start with the statement that "The more the velocity, the more the more productive the team is and hence more matured". It sounds fairly correct right? A team with more velocity is more likely capable and productive and hence more matured. Isn't it?
But wait, consider this!
> What if the team has shown significant "progress" in increasing their velocity but at the cost of team's burnout?
> What if the team has increased their average velocity by X percent but has compromised their quality?
> What if the team has padded their product backlog with the list of stories which are more of "non-functional" in nature which don't necessarily add any business value?
> What if the team has "bloated" their velocity unusually by sometimes(or many-a-time probably) by projecting simple tasks as stories-with-a-business-value?

Can the team be branded a matured?

And the reason as to why the team resort to such anti-patters to "save their velocity" is because "Velocity" which is ought to be the primary measure of a Team's progress, has metamorphosed into a "performance metric" leading to the teams (their leadership hierarchy too) becoming conscious or (rather "obsessed" in many cases) with Velocity so much so, that in order to "preserve" or "increase" their velocity, teams can resort to anti-practices such as extending the sprints, bloating the story points, add stories that don't add value only to "maintain" velocity.

Having said that, while its true that Velocity is certainly a critical indicator to measure of the amount of work a Team can accomplish in a sprint, it should also be seen in the context of the team's ability to maintain a consistency in achieving the velocity and at the same time, take a closer look at the team's definition of velocity itself.

Notwithstanding the above points and considering that a team gets them all right, can we then say that Velocity drives a team's maturity? To an extent, Yes. Velocity can be an indicator of a Team's Maturity but it cannot be the ONLY factor determining it. Among other factors, Maturity can also encompass how effectively the team tackles the dimensions such as "planning", "quality", "practices", "communication and collaboration" etc. (the list is exhaustive).

It is in this context that this session aims to throw some light on what "Maturity" and how "True Velocity" can contribute to a Team's maturity and discuss about numerous other factors that contribute to a team's maturity, such as a team's ability to break the silos and "self-organize" themselves, adhere to "practices", learn to cultivate "mutual Trust", "team commitment","collective ownership" and many more.


Outline/Structure of the Presentation

This session is not to promote/advocate or figure out a "Maturity Model" for a team.

More than a presentation, this will be more of an interactive session where the attendees/participants will indulge in meaningful discussions, and debate about their take on "Velocity" and "Maturity" and how they can influence/complement each other on the team's journey towards Maturity.

During the first 15 minutes of the session, the speaker will try to reiterate the premise of what Velocity and Maturity are, discuss about what it means to the audience and get their perspective on them.

The next 15 minutes will focus on the intricacies of how Velocity where questions/factors related to Velocity will be discussed in detail.

The next 15 minutes will try to establish the relation between Velocity and Maturity and take a deep dive and discuss/debate on how they are complementary/contradictory to each other and also discuss about the challenges we usually face in this area.

The last 15 minutes of the session will be for any Q&A and try to address them accordingly. Power point slides will be sparsely (or not at all) used as most of the session is more interactive than a presentation.

Learning Outcome

> Understand about the anti-patterns centered around velocity calculation and its misuse.
> Understand what Maturity stands for and what does it mean to the Agile/Scrum teams.
> Understand how Velocity and Maturity are complementary/contradictory to each other.

Target Audience

Scrum Masters, Product Owners, Scrum Team members, Project/Product Managers, Stakeholders

Prerequisites for Attendees

Attendees should have:
> A basic working knowledge of Agile/Scrum.
> The definition of Velocity and how Velocity is arrived at.
> How estimation is done in Agile/Scrum teams.

schedule Submitted 4 years ago

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