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Reporting on work velocity




Training > Additional Resources > Reporting on work velocity


In the last year or two there has been a shift in the way we work. Not just in where we work but how we work. In many cases, the amount of work has increased to meet consumer and stakeholder demand. That means our organizations need to run a tighter ship to make sure those demands are being managed and met on time.

Knowing how fast work gets done, known as work velocity, and how often we’re hitting our intended dates gives us an opportunity to improve our processes where needed. More importantly, we can give our stakeholders more accurate and predictable timelines, which makes for happy stakeholders and more business opportunities. 

What is velocity? 

So what is work velocity? You may have heard the terms project or sprint velocity but here we’re going to generalize it just a bit to include any work no matter the theory behind it.  

Simply put, work velocity allows us to measure the speed work is actually getting done as compared to how fast it was planned to be done. It is calculated by using the planned and actual durations. Dividing them gives us a number we can use to determine if the processes we have in place need to be improved or celebrated.  

Velocity = Actual Duration / Planned Duration 

For example, we planned to finish all candidate interviews in 5 days but it actually took us 10 days. If we take those two numbers (5 and 10) and, using simple math, divide them, we get the number 2. That means it took us twice as long to complete the interviews as we had planned. Whether this is good or bad depends on the circumstances for the delay and how your organization views it. The closer you are to the number 1 the better. That means you met your target. 

That is just one example and only gives us one data point.  

To truly help our organization understand the speed at which we’re finishing work, we need more data points and a way to view and analyze that information to make better decisions about our processes and the work we need to get done. 

Here we’re going to show you how Adobe Workfront captures this information and how you can create meaningful reports.


Let’s quickly explain how planned and actual durations are determined and then we’ll dive into two reports that give insight into your speed of work. 


Planned and actual dates 

Planned and actual durations are determined by subtracting the start dates from the completion dates for the work being done. 

Planned Duration = Planned Completion Date – Planned Start Date 

Actual Duration = Actual Completion Date – Actual Start Date 

For example, we originally planned to start building the new elementary school on May 1 and complete construction on June 15 the following year. We were able to start construction on May 1 but, due to shipping delays, weren’t able to finish until August 25. 

In this case, both the planned and actual start dates for this project are May 1. However, the planned and actual completion dates differ. 

June 15 is your Planned Completion Date while August 25 is your Actual Completion Date. 

That means your planned duration was 380 days and your actual duration was 420 days. That means your work velocity is 1.11, which is pretty close to your original expectation. 

Now, as was mentioned above, we need to start gathering other data points and putting those into useful reports to be analyzed. 


Velocity Reports 

Depending on how your organization wants to look at the rate at which work is being done, there are two reports that can be handy. One is the Adjusted Velocity Status report and the other is the Work to Commit Ratio Status report. 


Adjusted Velocity Status report 

It’s rare that all our planned work runs smoothly and nothing changes. If you’re one of those lucky few, congratulations. You’ve conquered work. 

However, if you’re like the rest of us work mortals, more often than not the work you planned on doing changes—priorities shift, resources are loaned out, and dates get pushed out or, even worse in some cases, pulled in and are due sooner than planned. Whatever the case may be, that work has to be replanned. Although this isn’t always ideal for stakeholders, it is necessary to make sure nothing is missed. 

Once the adjustments have been made, whether once or several times, the Adjusted Velocity Status report in Adobe Workfront allows you to look at the work you, or your team, have done and compare the actual duration of that work to the final replanned duration. 




However, there is one thing to keep in mind with this particular report and that’s the key word of “adjusted.”

In the report, you're comparing what was actually done to the readjusted plan. Not the original plan. Based on that, things may look terrific but it may not be the full picture because it’s not based on the original plan—what the stakeholders originally wanted.

So what if you wanted to see that full picture? Want to know how you did based on that original plan? That is when you would use the Work to Commit Ratios Status report. 


Work to Commit Ratio Status report 

Seeing what you originally committed to versus what actually happened may, at times, be a little crushing, but it’s necessary if real improvement and commitment to our stakeholders is to take place.

The Work to Commit Ratio Status report shows the same work the Adjusted Velocity Status report does. However, unlike the Adjusted Velocity Report where you may see 10 projects done close to the plan, you may only see 2 or 3 in the Work to Commit report. 



That doesn’t mean that you did less work. It means that compared to the original plan you committed to with stakeholders, fewer projects were completed on time. Again, this doesn’t mean it’s bad but rather a chance to improve processes in place, make more accurate timeline commitments to your stakeholders, etc. 


What now? 

We’ve defined what work velocity is, defined key elements that help calculate that work velocity, and showed you some reports that can provide insight into what your organization's work velocity is.  

But now what? How do you build these reports? What other conversations are being had around work velocity, planned durations, etc.? 

Here we just introduced you to the idea of what can be done. But if you’re interested in building these reports and seeing what your peers are talking about, you can view the Measuring Success of Planned vs. Actuals discussion board or the recording of the User Group: Reporting on Planned v. Actuals presentation. 

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Hi @jon_chen , My team has been using you formulas and finding them very helpful.  We are wondering though if you have any suggestions on what to do if a user starts a task early, as that throws the velocity off since the actual duration now differs greatly from the planned, looking like it took longer that it did.  Any suggestions?  Thanks in advance.  




Hi @FrankatMSC , that's a great question. You certainly don't want to discourage people from starting something early when they can. And they really don't have to finish it early just because they started early. So here's a couple of thoughts:

1 - You can change the formula for 

Actual Duration = Actual Completion Date – Actual Start Date


Actual Duration = Actual Completion Date – (Actual Start Date or Planned Start Date, whichever is later)

2 - You can use planned hours and actual hours instead of duration in all your formulas. This won't be practical unless everyone is making good planned hours estimates and reporting their time.

3 - You could create a report showing all tasks where Actual Start Date < Planned Start Date and then manually change the actual start date to equal the planned start date using inline edit. This might work best if this is a rare occurrence, but if it's pretty common then bullet 1 might be preferable.

cc - @jon_chen