View or configure team velocity

Azure DevOps Services | Azure DevOps Server 2019 | TFS 2018 | TFS 2017 | TFS 2015 | TFS 2013

Teams track their velocity to help them determine how much work they can perform sprint-over-sprint. Velocity provides an indication of how much work a team can complete during a sprint based either on a count of work items completed or the sum of estimates made to Effort (PBIs), Story Points (user stories), or Size (requirements). There are two velocity charts: the in-context report you can view from a team backlog or Kanban board and the Velocity widget you can add to a dashboard.

Example: Velocity widget showing six sprints of velocity
6 sprint velocity widget

Note

The Velocity widget is based on Analytics data. Analytics is generally available for Azure DevOps Services and in preview as an extension for Azure DevOps Server 2019. For TFS 2018 and earlier versions, you have access to the velocity chart provided by the work tracking data store.

Velocity provides a useful metric for gaining insight into how much work your team can complete during a sprint cycle. Each team is associated with one and only one velocity chart.

Velocity will vary depending on team capacity, sprint over sprint. However, over time, the velocity should indicate a reliable average that can be used to forecast the full backlog.

Example Velocity chart from the work tracking data store
3 sprint velocity chart

Once your team has completed a few sprints, they can use their velocity to forecast how much of the backlog they can finish within upcoming sprints. For usage guidance, see Velocity metrics and usage guidance.

Note

The images you see from your web portal may differ from the images you see in this article. These differences result from updates made to your web app, options that you or your admin have enabled, and which process was chosen when creating your project—Agile, Basic, Scrum, or CMMI.

Use this article to learn:

  • How to configure the Velocity widget (Analytics)
  • How to view the Velocity in-context report (Analytics)
  • Required and recommended team activities to support velocity tracking
  • How to configure the Velocity widget (Analytics)
  • How to view the Velocity in-context report (work tracking data store)
  • Required and recommended team activities to support velocity tracking
  • How to view the Velocity in-context report (work tracking data store)
  • Required and recommended team activities to support velocity tracking

Prerequisites

  • You must be a member of a project. If you don't have a team project yet, create one.
  • If you haven't been added as a project member, get added now.
  • To add a widget to a team dashboard, you need to be a member of the team. You must have Basic access or greater, have dashboard permissions, or be a team admin or project admin. Default settings provide all team members with permissions.
  • Boards must be enabled. If disabled, none of the work tracking Analytics widgets will display. To re-enable it, see Turn an Azure DevOps service on or off.

Prerequisites

Open your backlog from the web portal

  1. Check that you selected the right project, and select Boards > Backlogs. Then select the correct team from the team selector menu.

    Open Boards > Backlogs, for a team

    To select another backlog, open the selector and then choose a different team or select the View Backlog directory option. Or, enter a keyword in the search box to filter the list of team backlogs for the project.

    Select another team

  2. To view the in-context reports for the product backlog, check that you selected Stories for Agile, Issues for Basic, Backlog items for Scrum, or Requirements for CMMI as the backlog level. Or

    Select product backlog level, Backlog items, Stories, or Requirements

  1. Check that you selected the right project, and select Boards > Backlogs. Then select the correct team from the team selector menu.

    Open Boards > Backlogs, for a team

    To select another backlog, open the selector and then choose a different team or select the home icon Browse all backlogs option. Or, enter a keyword in the search box to filter the list of team backlogs for the project.

    Select another team

  2. To view the in-context reports for the product backlog, check that you selected Stories for Agile, Issues for Basic, Backlog items for Scrum, or Requirements for CMMI as the backlog level. Or

    Select product backlog level, Backlog items, Stories, or Requirements

On your web browser, open your team's product backlog and select the team from the project and team selector. Then select Work > Backlogs. Select the product backlog, which is Backlog items for Scrum, Stories for Agile, or Requirements for CMMI.

Open the Boards > Backlogs page

To select another team, open the project and team selector. Select a different team, or select the Browse option.

Select another team

On your web browser, open your team's product backlog. Select Boards > Backlogs.

Boards > backlogs, TFS 2015, 2013 web portal

View the Velocity in-context report

Velocity reports are available for each backlog level, both product and portfolio backlogs. Each report provides interactive controls to provide each user the view of interest to them.

  1. You open the Velocity report for your product or portfolio backlog by choosing Analytics.

    Open Analytics

  2. To change to a different backlog, choose from the backlog selector.

  3. Next, choose View full report for Velocity.

  4. Use the interactive controls to choose the count or sum field and number of iterations. Choose Custom iterations to specify any number of iterations between 1 and 15.

    Hover over a column area to show a summary of planned and completed work items.

    For example, for the 07_2019 sprint, 131 items are planned.

    Open Velocity Analytics

    The selections you make are only set for you, and persist across sessions until you change them.

  5. To add the report to a dashboard, choose the  actions icon and select Copy to Dashboard.

    Analytics in-context report, Copy to dashboard

    Select the dashboard and choose OK.

  6. To return to the Analytics summary, choose the  back arrow.

  1. From the web portal, open your product backlog.

  2. (1) Check that you have selected the right project, (2) choose Boards>Backlogs, and then (3) select the correct team from the team selector menu.

    Open Boards, Backlogs, for a team

    To choose another team, open the selector and select a different team or choose the home-icon Browse all backlogs option. Or, you can enter a keyword in the search box to filter the list of team backlogs for the project.

    Choose another team

    Tip

    Choose the  star icon to favorite a team backlog. Favorited artifacts ( favorited icon) appear at the top of the team selector list.

  3. Check that you have selected Backlog items (for Scrum), Stories (for Agile), or Requirements (for CMMI) as the backlog level.

    Choose product backlog level, Backlog items, Stories, or Requirements

  4. Open the velocity chart.

    Choose product backlog level, Backlog items, Stories, or Requirements

    For charts to appear, your team must perform these activities:

    • Select sprints for your team
    • Assign backlog items to sprints
    • Estimate backlog items by defining the Effort, Story Points, or Size.
  5. The chart tracks your estimated backlog work (sum of Effort, Story Points, or Size) that your team has completed (green) in the previous sprints, or that are still in progress (blue).

    As this chart shows, velocity will fluctuate from sprint-to-sprint for a variety of reasons. However, you can quickly determine the average velocity by averaging the values shown in green for each sprint. You can then plug the average into the Forecast tool.

    Web portal, Velocity chart showing seven sprints of in progress and completed work

    Note

    Work items based on the Scrum process get counted in the chart once their State is set to Committed, whereas items based on the Agile and CMMI processes get counted once their State is set to Active. This behavior is set through the workflow states to category state mappings.

  1. From the web portal, open the product backlog and then choose the velocity chart.

    Choose the velocity chart in the upper right area of the page

    For charts to appear, your team must perform these activities:

    • Select sprints for your team
    • Assign backlog items to sprints
    • Estimate backlog items by defining the Effort, Story Points, or Size.
  2. The report tracks your estimated backlog work (sum of Effort, Story Points, or Size) that your team has completed (green) in the previous sprints, or that are still in progress (blue).

    As this chart shows, velocity will fluctuate from sprint-to-sprint for a variety of reasons. However, you can quickly determine the average velocity by averaging the values shown in green for each sprint. You can then plug the average into the Forecast tool.

    Web portal, Velocity chart showing seven sprints of in progress and completed work

    Note

    Work items based on the Scrum process get counted in the chart once their State is set to Committed, whereas items based on the Agile and CMMI processes get counted once their State is set to Active. This behavior is set through the workflow states to category state mappings.

Add the Velocity widget to your dashboard

  1. If you haven't yet enabled or installed Analytics], do that now.

  2. If you haven't yet added the Velocity widget to your dashboard, do that now.

Configure the Velocity widget

You configure your velocity widget for a single team. If you want to view the velocity for several teams, then you must configure a portfolio management team which rolls up from several teams. To learn more about teams, see Add teams.

  1. Choose the Actions icon actions icon and choose the Configure option to open the configuration dialog.

    Modify the title, select the team, and then choose either the backlog level or work item type to track. Select whether you want to track a count of work items or a sum of a numeric field. The most common summed field is that of Effort, Story Points, or Size.

    Configure dialog, Velocity widget
  2. Specify the number of sprints you want to view. The default is 6 and the maximum is 15.

  3. (Optional) Select the check boxes to show additional information for work completed later than planned for each sprint.

    Displayed planned work for iterations: Check this box to display the amount of work planned for an iteration at the start of the iteration. This is useful for comparing your planned work to actual deliverables. By default, the count of planned work begins as of the start date of the iteration.

    • Days past start date of iteration when planned work is final: Specify a number of days past the start date to count planned work. For example, if the first 2 days of an iteration are for planning, then you can enter "3", and planned work will be counted on the 3rd day.

      For example, if the Iteration starts on 01/01/2018, and 3 backlog items are assigned to the iteration on 01/01/2018 end-of-day, then those 3 backlog item items will be considered as Planned. If your team doesn't complete planning until a few days into the iteration, then you can update the Days past start date of iteration when planned work is final.

      Note

      Work is considered Planned if it is assigned to the iteration as-of the Iteration Start Date.


      Highlight work completed late: Work items marked complete after the iteration end date are considered to be completed late and will show as light green. This is useful for spotting a trend where work items are marked complete after the iteration is complete.

    • Days past end date of iteration after which work is late: Specify a number of days past which a work item is considered late if it's status is still new or in progress.

      For example, entering 3 days will give the team 3 days after the end of an iteration to mark work items complete or done, before they are considered late.

      Note

      A work item is considered late when the work item's Completed Date is later than End Date of the Iteration the work item is currently assigned to.

      It will take into account the value you enter for Days past end date of iteration after which work is late.

  4. Choose Save when done. The following image shows Velocity based on Story Points and 8 sprints of data.

    Example Velocity widget, 8 iterations

For your team to gain the greatest utility from the velocity chart, follow these required and recommended tasks.

Required:

  • Define iteration paths (aka sprints) and configure team iterations Sprints should be of the same duration.
  • Define and estimate backlog items. If you work from your team's backlog, the items you create will automatically be assigned to the current sprint (Iteration) and to your team's default Area Path.
  • Update the status of backlog items once work starts and when completed. Only backlog items whose State maps to a metastate of In Progress or Done will show up on the velocity chart or velocity widget.

Recommended:

  • Define and size backlog items to minimize variability.
  • Determine how your team wants to treat bugs. If your team chooses to treat bugs like requirements, bugs will show up on the backlog and be counted within the Velocity chart and forecasting.
  • Set your team's area path. The forecast tool will forecast those items based on your team's default settings. These settings can specify to include items in area paths under the team's default or exclude them.
  • Don't create a hierarchy of backlog items and bugs. The Kanban board, sprint backlog, and task board only show the last node in a hierarchy, called the leaf node. For example, if you link items within a hierarchy that is four levels deep, only the items at the fourth level appear on the Kanban board, sprint backlog, and task board.
    Instead of nesting requirements, bugs, and tasks, we recommend that you maintain a flat list-only creating parent-child links one level deep between items. Use Features to group requirements or user stories. You can quickly map stories to features, which creates parent-child links in the background.
  • At the end of the sprint, update the status of those backlog items that the team has fully completed. Incomplete items should be moved back to the product backlog and considered in a future sprint planning meeting.

Add other teams

If you work with several teams, and each team wants to work with their own backlog view, velocity chart, and forecast tool, you can add teams. Each team then gets access to their own set of Agile tools. Each Agile tool filters work items to only include those whose assigned area paths and iteration paths meet those set for the team.

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