Skip to main content

Velocity When the Work Has to pause

Last post 03:22 am October 5, 2015 by John James
3 replies
08:51 am October 2, 2015

Hi All,

As a Scrum Master, my current project has hit an interesting situation and I was wondering if I am handling it in the right way and if anyone would or has approached the same situation differently.

The project runs for about a year and is in two week sprints, I have a standard Agile team with all of the skills and roles. However, due to sickness, my Business Analyst was unavailable for an extended period and to mitigate this I have finally acquired additional resources from both within the team and externally.....----.....

However, this has meant that the team caught up with the work available and completed all of the prepared and analysed User stories. My BA resource is now up to speed, but are not sufficiently far ahead to supply a sprints worth of User stores......----.....

Therefore Sprint 10 is a sprint comprising of SPIKE tasks (analysis, tools investigation, refactoring of code, proof of concepts etc), that are necessary and put us in good stead going forward. We have planned Sprint 10 so that there are estimated and time-boxed tasks and consequently there is much to occupy all of the team whilst the BA gets ahead and completes workshops etc......----.....

My question is how does this "Spike Sprint" affect the team Velocity? There are no story points, only task hours and the effort is unknown. Do I omit this sprint from any velocity analysis?, Do I carry this not productive Sprint (there will be no shippable code only a more consolidated position), against the calculated team velocity (accounting for it where necessary) or is there a better approach?.....----.....

BTW, this has agreement from the Product Owner as they can appreciate the circumstances the team is in......----.....

Thank you in advance for any insights you can provide......----.....


01:43 pm October 2, 2015

That wasn't a Sprint, because no value was delivered to the Product Owner. The fact that the PO is satisfied with this situation is immaterial.

To be a Sprint, some value must be delivered no matter how small. Even one user story would suffice. The rest of the Sprint may consist of refinement activities such as spikes.

Velocity is used to assist in estimating how much value can be delivered in a Sprint. Since the team did not deliver any value, the work done can have no empirical bearing on estimation and thus there is no velocity to record.

01:46 pm October 2, 2015

It sounds like your BA is playing the role of Product Owner here.

You should put your velocity as "0".

03:22 am October 5, 2015

Hi, thanks for those really useful responses. I knew that this Sprint did not feel right and now have some background information that I can discuss with my Product Owner and other interested stakeholders.

Cheers John

By posting on our forums you are agreeing to our Terms of Use.

Please note that the first and last name from your member profile will be displayed next to any topic or comment you post on the forums. For privacy concerns, we cannot allow you to post email addresses. All user-submitted content on our Forums may be subject to deletion if it is found to be in violation of our Terms of Use. does not endorse user-submitted content or the content of links to any third-party websites.

Terms of Use may, at its discretion, remove any post that it deems unsuitable for these forums. Unsuitable post content includes, but is not limited to, Professional-level assessment questions and answers, profanity, insults, racism or sexually explicit content. Using our forum as a platform for the marketing and solicitation of products or services is also prohibited. Forum members who post content deemed unsuitable by may have their access revoked at any time, without warning. may, but is not obliged to, monitor submissions.