Re-blog: Agile and Torque?

Cross-fertilization of ideas and inter-disciplinary analogies!

POWER (the rate of doing WORK) is dependent on TORQUE and RPM (the MEASURED quantities of engine output).

In Agile environments, does a similar relationship exist between Velocity and the team’s ‘torque’, the sum of each individual team member’s effort?

The extension of the ‘Knowledge-Skills-Attitude’ trilogy for success into a concept of project ‘work torque’ is a very interesting idea, introduced in Vinko Novak’s blog reposted below.

Triangle of Success

Think about it for a moment.  You’re always looking for ways to improve your team’s performance, or perhaps you’re facing a more specific issue, e.g., your team is struggling to use patterns effectively.  Why?

No finger pointing here!  As a management and basic problem solving tool rigorously applied, considering if a KSA area is the source of a team’s challenges could be a good first step that helps focus where potential improvements can yield the best ROI — whatever the desired outcome is or how it is measured.

Next, deeper analysis and reflection.  For the patterns example, is it really Knowledge or Skills that an individual or the team is lacking?  If so, those can be handled with relative ease, in a number of ways.  Is it Attitude?  If so, determine who, why, and the real sources of discontent.  Specifically tailor PEOPLE solutions to address those root causes.

However, perhaps the challenge isn’t about improving team KSA at all.  Could the source of the problem be as ‘simple’ as ineffectual communication about the patterns’ philosophy or use?  Or, the actual patterns themselves in this particular solution?  And what role does process play?

The variables are always many and complex, but the first step to finding a real solution is to deal with reality, as best as it can be determined.  The standard advice:  Make sure the right questions have been asked.  Make sure any responses address root cause.  And know that facing the possible answers sometimes takes courage!


See more from Vinko Novak at

Increasing Velocity by increasing the Team-Member Torque

SCRUM seems to be much about velocity and acceleration. So let’s stick to car terminology for a moment. If it is all about velocity and acceleration than contribution of each team member must be something like torque. Here is an interesting learn model I found very useful to define the actual torque. It’s called KSA (Knowledge, Skills and Attitude) model.


Knowledge is practically all a person knows and includes theoretical and practical learning. Everything you learn from experience is also knowledge. While applying the knowledge to the work, while practicing, you acquire or strengthen your skills. Skills are about how well you do things. For example programming skills, presentations skills and communications skills are common to software engineering. Attitude, from my point of view, is about how willing you are to do your work.

A scale factor for each layer of the model multiplied together gives the torque of the individual team member.

Lets define a scale, say 0 to 10, where 0 means not existing and 10 is maximum achievable value.

#example Having 7 in knowledge and in skills means 10 years or more of experience in certain field while continuously improving and learning ever since. But with a 3 in attitude you are probably dealing with the typical team member in “Waterfall”- organisations. The calculated torque for such a team member is  7x7x3=147. Out of 1000.

If SCRUM succeeds to change the attitude of the team members by more engagement, free decision making, clear focus, responsibility, commitment etc. the torque of each team member can rise dramatically (e.g. if we change the attitude in the example from 3 to 7 we get 7x7x7=343). This doubling in the torque might be a reason for the rise of velocity in SCRUM projects.


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