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Managing Projects and Teams with Velocity

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Velocity measures the rate of motion. In the context of projects, velocity is about teams accomplishing work faster, with less resources, better quality and greater satisfaction.

As project teams get used to each other and adjust to the organization's processes, culture and communication methodology, team members' potential for contribution increases. As team engagement increases and members align themselves toward the goals and objectives of the project, overall performance increases.

Velocity is achieved when team interactions are completely in sync with the project goals, the rationality behind the target dates and the planning it takes to meet those dates.

In a project environment conducive to velocity:

•    There's a clear direction, everyone's roles are clarified and there's flexibility for team members to contribute in other parts as appropriate.

•    Members manage their own time, guided by their mandates or objectives.

•    Teams choose their own method of communication. It could be acquired from other similar projects or specifically designed for the given team.

•    Team interactions -- phone calls, meetings, workshops, etc.-- are managed as the needs arise, rather than "boxing" teams into preset parameters.

On a project with velocity, the force behind the team executing the work gets to be so powerful that it's not the project manager who ends up giving the power to the team. The team itself generates that power and project execution moves with subsequent velocity.

Are you managing with velocity?


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You will know that you are operating with velocity once your performance measurement align your effort with your baseline documents (the plans that the project team organized to accomplish )and the worked on a reporting period throughout the duration of the project.

Is the team accomplishment within limits of the project schedule and when necessary implement time management technique to be on track? Is the project quality plan implemented; the policy, procedures, the team gain advantage of the corrective actions taken, improvement process captured, recorded and communicated to all stakeholders?Just few examples.

You can determine if the project team operates with velocity when the team actual performance against the baseline (plans) it set to target indicates positive results.

As a PM working in development, I feel compelled to point out that speed is the rate of motion over time; velocity is speed with direction, which actually suits the PM analogy better!

In order to manage with velocity, you have to be able to measure it. I don't see any measurable elements in your definition. In agile, velocity is a measure of story points for an iteration; so it's a real value that can be used to run your project.

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