How to Maximize Velocity and Cycle Time with a Digital Product Team

How to maximize velocity and cycle time with a digital product team
Source: Stencil

Let’s discuss how to maximize velocity and cycle time with a digital product team.

The very short answer is: put together a good team, make sure that team has shared alignment on output goals, and then remove any unnecessary obstacles from their path. 

But let’s take this a little deeper.

Definitions

Velocity: This is a developer’s all-out straight line speed and abilities. Imagine a car on an airport runway. Keep the throttle down until you hit terminal velocity. Of course, in real life there are turns and obstacles. Velocity relates to how much a developer can do with no obstacles in their way. It deals with their skill level and how well they perform in a distraction-free environment. 

Cycle time: If velocity is like a car on a runway, then cycle time is a car on an obstacle-ridden race car track. They must account for turns and vary their speed based on what’s going on around them. 

Cycle time relates to how quickly developers can take a business request, define requirements, get design on board, etc. How well do team members play together? Do they understand what we’re trying to achieve? All these factors play into cycle time.

Tactics to help you maximize velocity and cycle time with a product team

  • Hire the right team
  • Work in sprints that are the right length for your business
  • Use an agile framework for self-managing team(s)
  • Use retrospectives after each project to look for areas of improvement
    • A common format is Start, Stop, Continue. Each team member lists at least one thing from the last project they think the team should start, stop, or continue doing in the future
  • Create a shared common purpose
  • Give each team member sufficient autonomy
  • Give the team structure and clarity
  • Ensure the team count on each other to do high quality work on time

Many of these points can be summarized in one point: Strive to foster a workplace of trust and mutual respect. If people feel like they’re on a supportive team that’s going after the same goals, they’ll be empowered to do their best work. 

And that’s how you improve velocity and cycle time on a digital product team.  Easy, right?