Velocity is the speed with which you're able to deliver value to your customers. While at first glance it might seem that this is a constant factor related to velocity of each engineer and the number of engineers, velocity can in fact increase or decrease for many reasons.
Good engineering teams track their velocity and work to increase it. These four steps helped us identify forces working for and against our velocity, and take actions to encourage the former and reduce the latter. As a bonus, many of the actions we took made our lives easier and reduced the time we had to spend on less interesting work.
1. Track your time.
No one likes tracking their time. It adds overhead and feels annoying. But it also provides value: you can see where your time goes, and decide whether it is going to the right purposes.
We all do this naturally to some extent, but we may forget things or misperceive how long we actually spend on a task. So now and then, try tracking your time over an entire day for several days. Record when you start working on each task you do and when you switch to something else. You'll learn something.