Velocity Is NOT
the Goal
Michael “Doc” Norton :: Groupon :: @DocOnDev
Agile Metrics
Velocity Is NOT the Goal
Agile Metrics
Doc Norton!
Global Director of Engineering Culture!
doc@groupon.com | @DocOnDev
Velocity Is NOT
the Goal
Michael “Doc” Norton :: Groupon :: @DocOnDev
Agile Metrics
Velocity Is NOT
the Goal
Velocity
Velocity
What’s Velocity?
Work Units / Time
Lagging Indicator
Measure of a Complex System
Lagging Indicator for a Complex System
A Tale of Two
Velocities
A
10, 11, 9, 10
B
7, 14, 6, 10
Disclaimer
A
10, 11, 9, 10	

Yesterday’s Weather: 10
B
7, 14, 6, 10	

Yesterday’s Weather: 10
A
10, 11, 9, 10	

Yesterday’s Weather: 10	

Rolling Average: 10
B
7, 14, 6, 10	

Yesterday’s Weather: 10	

Rolling Average...
A
10, 11, 9, 10	

Yesterday’s Weather: 10	

Rolling Average: 10	

Std. Deviation: 0.7
B
7, 14, 6, 10	

Yesterday’s Weather...
A
10, 11, 9, 10	

Yesterday’s Weather: 10	

Rolling Average: 10	

Std. Deviation: 0.7	

Next: 9.3-10.7
B
7, 14, 6, 10	

Ye...
The Need for Speed
The Hawthorn Effect
That which is measured,
will improve
That which is measured,
will improve
... at a cost
Goodhart’s Law
When a measure becomes a
target, it ceases to be a
good measure
Perverse Incentives
... an unintended result,
contrary to interests of the
incentive makers
Dr. Deming
“What matters is not
setting quantitative
goals but fixing the
method by which
those goals are
attained”
What causes variable
Velocity?
Time Poorly Spent
Dependency on Other Teams
Poor Story Composition
Too Much Work In Progress
Scatter
Diagrams
0
5000
10000
15000
20000
0 2 4 6 8
Scatter Diagrams
Auto Prices by Year
0
12.5
25
37.5
50
0 25 50 75 100
Scatter Diagrams
Velocity by Complexity
0
12.5
25
37.5
50
0 10000 20000 30000 40000
Scatter Diagrams
Velocity by Value
0
12.5
25
37.5
50
0 22.5 45 67.5 90
Scatter Diagrams
Velocity by Coverage
“Friedman’s Thermostat”
Correlation is not causation
Correlation is not causation
but it sure is a hint
Cumulative
Flow Diagrams
Backlog
Cumulative Flow Diagram
0
5
10
15
20
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Velocity Chart
Same
Different Perspective
Team	
&	
Data
CFD
0
25
50
75
100
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Deployed Ready for Approval In Testing In Progress Ready To Start
Measure
Many Things
Measure Many Things
0
4
8
12
16
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
Velocity
Measure Many Things
0
12.5
25
37.5
50
0
4
8
12
16
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
Velocity Quality
Measure Many Things
0
12.5
25
37.5
50
0
4
8
12
16
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
Velocity Quality Avg. Hours
Measure Many Things
0
12.5
25
37.5
50
0
4
8
12
16
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
Velocity Quality Avg. Hours Team Joy
Real World
Examples
Application Performance
Velocity w/Std. Deviation
Burn w/Std. Deviation
Cumulative Flow
Team Joy
Department Joy
One Last
Thing
Metrics
are not for
Managers
Metrics
are for
Teams
Velocity Is NOT the Goal
Agile Metrics
Doc Norton!
Global Director of Engineering Culture!
doc@groupon.com | @DocOnDev
Agile Metrics : Velocity is NOT the Goal - NDC Oslo 2014
Agile Metrics : Velocity is NOT the Goal - NDC Oslo 2014
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Agile Metrics : Velocity is NOT the Goal - NDC Oslo 2014

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Velocity is one of the most common metrics used-and one of the most commonly misused-on agile projects. Velocity is simply a measurement of speed in a given direction-the rate at which a team is delivering toward a product release. As with a vehicle en route to a particular destination, increasing the speed may appear to ensure a timely arrival. However, that assumption is dangerous because it ignores the risks with higher speeds. And while it’s easy to increase a vehicle’s speed, where exactly is the accelerator on a software team?

Michael “Doc" Norton walks us through the Hawthorne Effect and Goodhart’s Law to explain why setting goals for velocity can actually hurt a project's chances. Take a look at what can negatively impact velocity, ways to stabilize fluctuating velocity, and methods to improve velocity without the risks. Leave with a toolkit of additional metrics that, coupled with velocity, give a better view of the project's overall health.

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Agile Metrics : Velocity is NOT the Goal - NDC Oslo 2014

  1. 1. Velocity Is NOT the Goal Michael “Doc” Norton :: Groupon :: @DocOnDev Agile Metrics
  2. 2. Velocity Is NOT the Goal Agile Metrics Doc Norton! Global Director of Engineering Culture! doc@groupon.com | @DocOnDev
  3. 3. Velocity Is NOT the Goal Michael “Doc” Norton :: Groupon :: @DocOnDev Agile Metrics
  4. 4. Velocity Is NOT the Goal
  5. 5. Velocity
  6. 6. Velocity
  7. 7. What’s Velocity?
  8. 8. Work Units / Time
  9. 9. Lagging Indicator
  10. 10. Measure of a Complex System
  11. 11. Lagging Indicator for a Complex System
  12. 12. A Tale of Two Velocities
  13. 13. A 10, 11, 9, 10 B 7, 14, 6, 10 Disclaimer
  14. 14. A 10, 11, 9, 10 Yesterday’s Weather: 10 B 7, 14, 6, 10 Yesterday’s Weather: 10
  15. 15. A 10, 11, 9, 10 Yesterday’s Weather: 10 Rolling Average: 10 B 7, 14, 6, 10 Yesterday’s Weather: 10 Rolling Average: 10
  16. 16. A 10, 11, 9, 10 Yesterday’s Weather: 10 Rolling Average: 10 Std. Deviation: 0.7 B 7, 14, 6, 10 Yesterday’s Weather: 10 Rolling Average: 10 Std. Deviation: 3.1
  17. 17. A 10, 11, 9, 10 Yesterday’s Weather: 10 Rolling Average: 10 Std. Deviation: 0.7 Next: 9.3-10.7 B 7, 14, 6, 10 Yesterday’s Weather: 10 Rolling Average: 10 Std. Deviation: 3.1 Next: 6.9-13.1
  18. 18. The Need for Speed
  19. 19. The Hawthorn Effect
  20. 20. That which is measured, will improve
  21. 21. That which is measured, will improve ... at a cost
  22. 22. Goodhart’s Law
  23. 23. When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure
  24. 24. Perverse Incentives
  25. 25. ... an unintended result, contrary to interests of the incentive makers
  26. 26. Dr. Deming “What matters is not setting quantitative goals but fixing the method by which those goals are attained”
  27. 27. What causes variable Velocity?
  28. 28. Time Poorly Spent
  29. 29. Dependency on Other Teams
  30. 30. Poor Story Composition
  31. 31. Too Much Work In Progress
  32. 32. Scatter Diagrams
  33. 33. 0 5000 10000 15000 20000 0 2 4 6 8 Scatter Diagrams Auto Prices by Year
  34. 34. 0 12.5 25 37.5 50 0 25 50 75 100 Scatter Diagrams Velocity by Complexity
  35. 35. 0 12.5 25 37.5 50 0 10000 20000 30000 40000 Scatter Diagrams Velocity by Value
  36. 36. 0 12.5 25 37.5 50 0 22.5 45 67.5 90 Scatter Diagrams Velocity by Coverage
  37. 37. “Friedman’s Thermostat”
  38. 38. Correlation is not causation
  39. 39. Correlation is not causation but it sure is a hint
  40. 40. Cumulative Flow Diagrams
  41. 41. Backlog
  42. 42. Cumulative Flow Diagram
  43. 43. 0 5 10 15 20 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Velocity Chart
  44. 44. Same Different Perspective Team & Data
  45. 45. CFD 0 25 50 75 100 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Deployed Ready for Approval In Testing In Progress Ready To Start
  46. 46. Measure Many Things
  47. 47. Measure Many Things 0 4 8 12 16 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Velocity
  48. 48. Measure Many Things 0 12.5 25 37.5 50 0 4 8 12 16 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Velocity Quality
  49. 49. Measure Many Things 0 12.5 25 37.5 50 0 4 8 12 16 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Velocity Quality Avg. Hours
  50. 50. Measure Many Things 0 12.5 25 37.5 50 0 4 8 12 16 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Velocity Quality Avg. Hours Team Joy
  51. 51. Real World Examples
  52. 52. Application Performance
  53. 53. Velocity w/Std. Deviation
  54. 54. Burn w/Std. Deviation
  55. 55. Cumulative Flow
  56. 56. Team Joy
  57. 57. Department Joy
  58. 58. One Last Thing
  59. 59. Metrics are not for Managers
  60. 60. Metrics are for Teams
  61. 61. Velocity Is NOT the Goal Agile Metrics Doc Norton! Global Director of Engineering Culture! doc@groupon.com | @DocOnDev
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