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Velocity is not the Goal

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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 …

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? This presentation covers 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.

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  • Unemployment - when unemployment rises it means the economy has been doing poorly\nBody Temperature - Indicator of health; not the problem\n
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  • Something vaguely similar from Galileo\nMore similar from Tom DeMarco - "Controlling Software Projects: Management, Measurement, and Estimates," with the words: "You can't control what you can't measure."\n
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  • Seven Deadly Diseases of Western Management\n
  • Seven Deadly Diseases of Western Management\n
  • Seven Deadly Diseases of Western Management\n
  • Seven Deadly Diseases of Western Management\n
  • Seven Deadly Diseases of Western Management\n
  • Seven Deadly Diseases of Western Management\n
  • Seven Deadly Diseases of Western Management\n
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  • Charles Goodhart\n1975 Paper - Chief Economic Advisor for Bank of England\nAny observed statistical regularity will tend to collapse once pressure is placed upon it for control purposes.\n\nRewards for # of bugs found - lower importance, duplicate bugs reported\nReward for code coverage - increased coverage/decreased test quality\n\n
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  • Approval delays are a challenge\nTeam literally ran out of work once\nOur product owner is not well represented on this project\n
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  • Transcript

    • 1. Agile Metrics: Velocity is Not the Goal.Michael “Doc” Norton ◊ @DocOnDev ◊ doc@leandog.com
    • 2. What’s “Agile” Velocity?
    • 3. What’s “Agile” Velocity?Work units delivered over time
    • 4. Trailing Indicator
    • 5. Trailing IndicatorTells us about the health of the project
    • 6. “You can’t manage what you can’t measure”
    • 7. Says Who?
    • 8. You can’tmanage what you can’t measure.Dr. W. Edwards DemingFather of the Quality Evolution
    • 9. Don’t be O T N ridiculous! in ly r t aC eDr. W. Edwards DemingFather of the Quality Evolution
    • 10. Running acompany on visible figures alone [is deadly] Dr. W. Edwards Deming Father of the Quality Evolution
    • 11. Seven Deadly Diseases ofWestern Management
    • 12. Seven Deadly Diseases ofWestern ManagementLack of constancy of purposeEmphasis on short term profitsEvaluation of performance, merit rating, or annual reviewMobility of top managementRunning a company on visible figures aloneExcessive medical costsExcessive legal damage awards
    • 13. The Hawthorn Effect
    • 14. The Hawthorn EffectThat which is measured, will improve
    • 15. What matters is not setting quantitative goals but fixing themethod by which those goals are attained
    • 16. What matters is not setting quantitative goals but fixing themethod by which those goals are attained Repair the root cause Rather than the symptoms
    • 17. Unstable Velocity
    • 18. Unstable VelocityWhat does it mean?
    • 19. Poor Story Composition
    • 20. Poor Story CompositionYou want consistent (small) stories
    • 21. Too Much WIP
    • 22. Too Much WIPGet the highest value done first
    • 23. Dependency on Other Teams
    • 24. Dependency on Other TeamsGet everyone you need on the team
    • 25. Stable Velocity
    • 26. Stable VelocityIt won’t ever be perfect
    • 27. Increase Velocity
    • 28. Increase VelocityDo we always want to go faster?
    • 29. Goodhart’s Law
    • 30. Goodhart’s LawMaking a metric a target destroys the metric
    • 31. What matters is not setting quantitative goals but fixing themethod by which those goals are attained Repair the root cause
    • 32. What matters is not setting quantitative goals but fixing themethod by which those goals are attained Repair the root cause Rather than the symptoms
    • 33. Velocity Graph
    • 34. Velocity GraphWhat does it tell us?
    • 35. Sample Backlog
    • 36. Cumulative Flow
    • 37. Cumulative FlowVelocity doesn’t always tell us enough
    • 38. 201510 5 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 VelocityVelocity Graph
    • 39. 201510 5 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 VelocityVelocity GraphWhat story does this tell?
    • 40. 100 75 50 25 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Deployed Ready for Approval In Testing In Progress Ready To StartCumulative Flow
    • 41. 100 75 50 25 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Deployed Ready for Approval In Testing In Progress Ready To StartCumulative FlowWhat story does this tell?
    • 42. 16 12 8 4 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 VelocityBalanced Metrics
    • 43. 16 12 8 4 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 VelocityBalanced MetricsWatch more than one
    • 44. 16 50 12 37.5 8 25 4 12.5 0 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Velocity QualityBalanced MetricsWatch more than one
    • 45. 16 50 12 37.5 8 25 4 12.5 0 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Velocity Quality Avg. HoursBalanced MetricsWatch more than one
    • 46. Remember
    • 47. Remember• Velocity is a trailing indicator• That which is measured will improve (at a cost)• Velocity can tell us several things• What matters is not the metric, but the behaviors that produce the results• Setting a goal on a metric negates the metric• Cycle and Lead Time can tell us more• Balance your metrics
    • 48. Thank YouMichael “Doc” Norton ◊ @DocOnDev ◊ doc@leandog.com

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