Here at Vaco, we’ve been talking a lot about a simple word called “Done” and the negative implications of too much WIP, over commitment and an inherent lack of accountability. Lucky for us, metrics allow us to assess where we are and where we want to go.
Newly formed teams are exempt since the data has not presented itself just yet, but within a space of three full sprints, teams should know their velocity (3 sprint average) and % completed (per sprint).
Let’s assume my team’s velocity is 20. During planning, we commit to 20 points and feel confident with that amount of work. We are now on day four of the sprint and an urgent 3 point story arrives. We agree to pull the work into the sprint since we are comfortable finishing it along in addition to our other committed work.
Last day of the sprint: We finished the urgent 3-point story, but 2 others did not meet the Definition of Done (a 1 pointer and a 2 pointer). What was our % complete?
d.) Math is hard
The answer is C – 87%. Even though the team’s original commitment was 20, we still need to account for fluctuations that occurred during the sprint. By saying “yes” to that urgent 3 point story without saying “no” to any other originally committed work, the team had committed above their normal velocity.
Just a quick breakdown on the data:
Why does this matter?
This matters because all organizations should be completely aware of what they are saying YES to, and what they are saying NO too, when “urgent” work pops in mid sprint.
A team can only do so much. If the size of their bucket is 20 points, then that’s the size of their bucket. Any time you add additional work without removing work from the bucket, the bucket WILL overflow.
Just some food for thought.
Just an agile-dork writing about dorky agile things.