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How does the Scrum team decrease the difference between Capacity and Velocity (contd..) ?

In the previous post (Decrease difference between Capacity and Velocity), there was an attempt to explain how the team can increase their velocity, and also improve the way that they are able to estimate the amount of features that they can complete in each of their Sprints. In this post, we will talk more about how the team can improve their velocity for the cycle, talk about some of the factors that make either the team or some of the members of the team turn negative.
– Stress. One really does not need to define stress, you know it is present. Stress in a team could be because of many reasons, such as a lot of work pressure, or overall negative vibes in the organization, or bad management. In such cases, one can expect that the team will not do as well as you would expect.
– Communication problems. Communication problems between the various team members can do a lot to damage the smooth functioning of the team and eventually affect the velocity of the team.
– Pressure to increase velocity. If the team is suddenly expected to increase their velocity (say to meet the pressure of a new project, or where they are falling behind schedule), then it is fairly easy for management to try and push the team to do so; but one needs to recognize that you just cannot mandate an increase in velocity, you have to work at it.
– Social networks. The team has to focus on their the asks on hand, while social networks such as Facebook are a huge amount of concentration breakers. In our experience, it is fairly obvious that for teams that have been suddenly empowered by starting to work in a Scrum based methodology, the temptation to do your own thing can be very strong. In such cases, the temptation to get swayed by social networks can have huge impacts on the productivity of the team. This is even more important because the focus on measuring how much work has got done in terms of a daily timesheet filled by team members is reduced, and so is the fear that reduced work done will be tracked and punished.
– Ensure that your people remain highly motivated. If the team members start getting fatigued because of any number of reasons, the amount of defects they produce increases, the tightness of testing processes slightly decreases, and the overall velocity of the team decreases.
– Processes that increase overall productivity. There are any number of processes that can improve the productivity of a team related to higher efficiency. Some of these relate to discipline in terms of handling email (such as checking email at defined intervals rather than getting distracted by every email that comes along), usage of chat, etc.
In the next post, I will continue about how to improve the Velocity of a Scrum team.

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