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How to Calculate Velocity When the Agile Team Is on Vacation?

It is common to have fewer people actively working on your agile team during vacation. Irrespective of that, clients would want to know the velocity of the project progress. In this article at Mountain Goat Software, Mike Cohn prescribes 3 ways to calculate velocity when the agile team is on vacation.

Estimating Velocity Despite Agile Team Time-off

When the agile team works on multiple iterations for a project, provide a velocity estimation to the clients. You are can calculate velocity better for long-term projects as it can differ from one iteration to the other. To calculate something that the agile team can fulfill, the following are the 3 approaches:

  • Overlook Time-offs for Long-Term Projects: When the agile team gets a long-term project, do not take holidays into consideration while calculating velocity. It is true that during the holiday seasons productivity is low. However, teammates can pick up speed after returning to work, all energized.
  • Adjust as per Team Availability: Sometimes, it is not possible to ignore agile team vacations. Calculate velocity for shorter projects or when your teammates are taking longer time-offs, say, after childbirth. If the holidays are impacting the delivery, you should definitely plan the estimates accordingly. A simple calculation is provided below for your perusal:

Predicted Velocity = Average Velocity x (Planned Working Days ÷ Average Working Days)

  • Create Plans according to Skills: When a skilled agile team member is on vacation and there is no substitute, consider that while calculating velocity. According to the author, ‘reduce velocity by the same percentage that a person’s absence represents within their primary skill.’ For example, if two data scientists are on vacation, cut down your team velocity by 50 percent. You can be diplomatic about it if it is too honest for you. Also, the absence of more than expected members of specific skills can affect velocity. So, prioritize the skills or department that affect your estimation the most.

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