What is development velocity and why does it matter?

Software development culture demands speed and quality. To enhance them and drive business growth, it’s essential to cultivate an environment conducive to innovation and streamline the development process. 

One such key factor is development velocity which helps in unlocking optimal performance.

Let’s understand more about this term and why it is important: 

What is development velocity?

Development velocity refers to the amount of work the developers can complete in a specific timeframe. It is the measurement of the rate at which they can deliver business value. In scrum or agile, it is the average number of story points delivered per sprint. 

Development velocity is mainly used as a planning tool that helps developers understand how effective they are in deploying high-quality software to end-users. 

Why does it matter?

Development velocity is a strong indicator of whether a business is headed in the right direction. There are various reasons why development velocity is important: 

Utilization of money and resources

High development velocity leads to an increase in productivity and reduced development time. It further leads to a faster delivery process and reduced time to market which helps in saving cost. Hence, allowing them to maximize the value generated from resources and allocate it to other aspects of business. 

Faster time to market

High development velocity results in quick delivery of features and updates. Hence, gives the company a competitive edge in the market, responding rapidly to market demands and capturing market opportunities.

Continuous improvement

Development velocity provides valuable insights into team performance and identifies areas for improvement within the development process. It allows them to analyze velocity trends and implement strategies to optimize their workflow. 

Set realistic expectations

Development velocity helps in setting realistic expectations by offering a reliable measure of the team’s capacity to deliver work within the timeframe. It further keeps the expectations grounded in reality and fostering trust and transparency within the development team. 

Factors that negatively impact development velocity

A few common hurdles that may impact the developer’s velocity are: 

  • High levels of stress and burnout among team members 
  • A codebase that lacks CI/CD pipelines
  • Poor code quality or outdated technology 
  • Context switching between feature development and operational tasks
  • Accumulated tech debt such as outdated or poorly designed code
  • Manual, repetitive tasks such as manual testing, deployment, and code review processes
  • A complicated organizational structure that challenges coordination and collaboration among team members
  • Developer turnover i.e. attrition or churn 
  • Constant distractions that prevent developers from deep, innovative work

How to measure development velocity?

Measuring development velocity includes quantifying the rate at which developers are delivering value to the project. 

Although, various metrics measure development velocity, we have curated a few important metrics. Take a look below: 

Cycle time

Cycle time calculates the time it takes for a task or user story to move from the beginning of the coding task to when it’s been delivered, deployed to production, and made available to users. It provides a granular view of the development process and helps the team identify blindspots and ways to improve them. 

Story points

Story points measure the number of story points completed over a period of time, typically within a sprint. Tracking the total story points in each iteration or sprint estimates future performance and resource allocation. 

User stories

User stories measure the velocity in terms of completed user stories. It gives a clear indication of progress and helps in planning future iterations. Moreover, measuring user stories helps in planning and prioritizing their work efforts while maintaining a sustainable pace of delivery. 

Burndown chart

The Burndown chart tracks the remaining work in a sprint or iteration. Comparing planned work against the actual work progress helps in assessing their velocity and comparing progress to sprint goals. This further helps them in making informed decisions to identify velocity trends and optimize their development process. 

Engineering hours

Engineering hours track the actual time spent by engineers on specific tasks or user stories. It is a direct measure of effort and helps in estimating future tasks based on historical data. It provides feedback for continuous improvement efforts and enables them to make data-driven decisions and improve performance. 

Lead time

Lead time calculates the time between committing the code and sending it to production. However, it is not a direct metric and it needs to complement other metrics such as cycle time and throughput. It helps in understanding how quickly the development team is able to respond to new work and deliver value. 

How to improve development velocity?

Build a positive developer experience

Developers are important assets of software development companies. When they are unhappy, this leads to reduced productivity and morale. This further lowers code quality and creates hurdles in collaboration and teamwork. As a result, this negatively affects the development velocity. 

Hence, the first and most crucial way is to create a positive work environment for developers. Below are a few ways how you can build a positive developer experience for them:

Foster a culture of experimentation

Encouraging a culture of experimentation and continuous learning leads to innovation and the adoption of more efficient practices. Let your developers, experiment, make mistakes and try again. Ensure that you acknowledge their efforts and celebrate their successes. 

Set realistic deadlines

Unrealistic deadlines can cause burnout, poor code quality work, and negligence in PR review. Always involve your development team while setting deadlines. When set right, it can help them plan and prioritize their tasks. Ensure that you give buffer time to them to manage roadblocks and unexpected bugs as well as other priorities.

Encourage frequent communication and two-way feedback

Regular communication among team leaders and developers lets them share important information on a priority basis. It allows them to effectively get their work done since they are communicating their progress and blockers while simultaneously moving on with their tasks.

Encourage pair programming

Knowledge sharing and collaboration are important. This can be through pair programming and collaborating with other developers as it allows them to work on more complex problems and code together in parallel. It also results in effective communication as well as accountability for each other’s work.

Manage technical debt

An increase in technical debt negatively impacts the development velocity. When teams take shortcuts, they have to spend extra time and effort on fixing bugs and other issues. It also leads to improper planning and documentation which further slows down the development process. 

Below are a few ways how developers can minimize technical debt

Automated testing

The automated testing process minimizes the risk of errors in the future and identifies defects in code quickly. Further, it increases the efficiency of engineers. Hence, giving them more time to solve problems that need human interference.

Regular code reviews

Code reviews in routine allow the team to handle technical debt in the long run. As it helps in constant error checking and catching potential issues which enhance code quality.


Refactoring involves making changes to the codebase without altering its external behavior. It is an ongoing process that is performed regularly throughout the software development life cycle.

Listen to your engineers

Always listen to your engineers. They are the ones who are well aware of ongoing development and working closely with a database and developing the applications. Listen to what they have to say and take their suggestions and opinions.

Adhere to agile methodologies

Agile methodologies such as Scrum and Kanban offer a framework to manage software development projects flexibly and seamlessly. This is because the framework breaks down projects into smaller, manageable increments. Hence, allowing them to focus on delivering small pieces of functions more quickly. It also enables developers to receive feedback quickly and have constant communication with the team members. 

The agile methodology also prioritizes work based on business value, customer needs and dependencies to streamline developers’ efforts and maintain consistent progress. 

Align objectives with other teams

One of the best ways the software development process works efficiently is when everyone’s goals are aligned. If not, it could lead to being out of sync and stuck in a bottleneck situation. Aligning objectives with other teams fosters collaboration reduces duplication of efforts, and ensures that everyone is working towards the same goal. 

Moreover, it minimizes the conflicts and dependencies between teams enabling faster decision making and problem-solving. Hence, development teams should regularly communicate, coordinate, and align with priorities to ensure a shared understanding of objectives and vision. 

Empower developers with the right tools

Right engineering tools and technologies can help in increasing productivity and development velocity. Organizations that have tools for continuous integration and deployment, communication, collaboration, planning, and development are likely more innovative than the companies that don’t use them. 

There are many tools available in the market. Below are key factors that the engineering team should keep in mind while choosing any engineering tool: 

  • Understand the specific requirements and workflows of your development team.
  • Evaluate the features and capabilities of each tool to determine if they meet your team’s needs.
  • Consider the cost of implementing and maintaining the tools, including licensing fees, subscription costs, training expenses, and ongoing support.
  • Ensure that the selected tools are compatible with your existing technology stack and can seamlessly integrate with other tools and systems. 
  • Continuously gather feedback from users, monitor performance metrics, and be willing to iterate and make adjustments as needed to ensure that your team has the right tools to support their development efforts effectively. 

Enhance development velocity with Typo

As mentioned above, empowering your development team to use the right tools is crucial. Typo is one such intelligent engineering platform that is used for gaining visibility, removing blockers, and maximizing developer effectiveness.

  • Typo’s customized DORA (Deployment frequency, Change failure rate, Lead time, and Mean Time to Recover) key metrics and other engineering metrics can be configured in a single dashboard based on specific development processes. The friendly user interface helps benchmark the dev team’s performance and identifies real-time bottlenecks, sprint delays, and blocked PRs.
  • Typo’s automated code review tool auto-analyses codebase and pull requests to find issues and auto-generates fixes before it merges to master. It understands the context of your code and quickly finds and fixes any issues accurately, making pull requests easy and stress-free.
  • Its effective sprint analysis feature tracks and analyzes the team’s progress throughout a sprint. It uses data from Git and the issue management tool to provide insights into getting insights on how much work has been completed, how much work is still in progress, and how much time is left in the sprint.
  • Typo has a metrics dashboard that focuses on the team’s health and performance. It lets engineering leaders compare the team’s results with what healthy benchmarks across industries look like and drive impactful initiatives for your team.
  • This platform helps in getting a 360 view of the developer experience as it captures qualitative insights and provides an in-depth view of the real issues that need attention. With signals from work patterns and continuous AI-driven pulse check-ins on the experience of developers in the team, Typo helps with early indicators of their well-being and actionable insights on the areas that need your attention.
  • The more the tools can be integrated with software, the better it is for the software developers. Typo lets you see the complete picture of your engineering health by seamlessly connecting to your tech tool stack such as GIT versioning, issue tracker, and CI/CD tools. 

To learn more about Typo, visit our website!