Speed vs Velocity

Speed vs velocity title image

This year at Scrum Day Europe I participated in a workshop for videoscribing, a really simple way to try and make your story engaging. I came away from that workshop buzzing with energy and with a few idea of what topics I would love to try with the technique.

Unfortunately, my Inkscape skills (needed for creating the SVG images used in the videoscribes) are not yet up to scratch 🙂 However, I really wanted to do something whilst learning to make sure that I keep my energy levels up.

And so here is my first attempt! Not a videoscripbe, but rather using its sibling, Tawe. Please ignore the rather poor sound production – at the moment I am using what is to hand to make the recordings – this will change with time…

So, onto the topic! Speed vs velocity. My thoughts on why we as teams should not be celebrating our outright speed, but rather using our velocity to provide insight into progress instead…

Team Efficiency

Over the last couple of months I have been working with a new team. One of the things that we have tried to embrace as a team is constant experimentation. Not just talking about where we can improve, but coming up with short term experiments that we can implement to try and do something about it.

One such experiment was looking at the relationship between personal efficiency and team efficiency.

Having three team members working on three (or more) stories as we could zip between them personally and work on something that was the most efficient for us at the time.

The problem was that our board was not moving very quickly. We had tasks in progress for too long, meaning that our tester – who is, of course, in our team was struggling to do something for the team and then in one swoop got everything at once, big bang style.

I won’t speak for the team, but this was a cause of stress for me. Working really hard, but taking a long time to see something move to completion.

So, in our retro it was discussed and we decided that we were going to ensure that we worked together.

  • Step 1: In sprint planning we looked at how we could split the stories into tasks in a way they fostered collaboration. This included looking at how stories themselves were split, a process that is ongoing!
  • Step 2: At the point where we hit a choice between easy street and taking something totally separate or picking a task with close collaboration we made a deliberate effort to go for the latter. This is a hard to keep up!

When we tried this we found that we were stepping on each other’s toes too often, and so in subsequent discussions (why wait for the retro next week if you have pain today?) we refined our process a little to come up with ways to mitigate this

  • Keep you files small and functional.
  • Check in fast, and oftenAt least daily.
  • Spend the time in planning to ensure that you have a good split and that everyone has a good understanding of the tasks

After running this experiment for a couple of sprints we have found our collaboration has improved, we can pick things up from each other with more ease and we have less tasks being developed simultaneously. Getting it working has been hard, and we are still working on it but don’t get discouraged by the difficulty. If it was easy to start then we would all be doing this already! And the results have, for us, been worth the effort J

Folding wood

Whilst sitting having lunch today (yes, I stopped long enough to eat away from my desk!) I noticed another tree trunk stool in the corner of the canteen.

Whikst chatting I started to look at the way the wood had grown folding in onto itself. So, apologising to my colleagues, I went across and tried to get low enough to grab a shot. I think with a movable light source I could spend hours and fill a months pictures from the it 🙂

Edit
Oops, this have appeared on my photo 365 blog picturesinpassing.wordpress.com – never mind, glad people enjoyed it anyway!