In Agile methodologies, sprints are an important aspect of project management. It is a set period of time, usually two to four weeks, in which a team sets out to complete a set of tasks. However, there may come a time when a team realizes that they may not be able to complete all the work in the sprint. This can be a stressful situation, but there are steps that can be taken to ensure that the sprint is still successful.
The first step is to make sure that the team did not lose capacity. This can be due to unplanned vacation or sick days, which can disrupt the team’s ability to complete the work. If this is the case, then the team should remove an equivalent item from the sprint to make up for the lost capacity.
Next, the team should check if any tasks have ballooned in capacity. If this has happened and it was not communicated to the scrum master, then another task should be removed from the sprint that is of equal or greater value to the amount the task ballooned by.
Once these steps have been taken, the team should focus on their highest priority items. The team can identify these items by their sprint goal. If the team cannot finish all the forecasted work, they should at least commit to completing the sprint goal tasks. If the team does not have a sprint goal, they should focus on their first definition of done.
The first definition of done generally means that the task is completed and ready for review. Once the task successfully passes review, the second definition of done is met. After the task is merged, the third and final definition of done is met. By focusing on getting all work to the first definition of done, the team can report that all work was at least completed but some tasks still need review and to be merged.
It is important to remember that tasks take the longest to get to the “ready for review” stage, so the team should focus on getting the work to that stage. While iterating through all these steps, it is important to reinforce the fact that the whole team is responsible for completing every task in the sprint and working together to complete the sprint.
In these situations, it is important to not let process get in the way of progress. The team should be communicating regularly to avoid this. A prime example of this is a team member placing work in the “ready for review” column, unassigning it, and waiting for someone to pick it up. In these situations, time is of the essence, and the team member completing the work should reach out to their team and plan for someone to immediately pick up the work.
When a team is in danger of not completing all the work in the sprint, there are steps that can be taken to ensure that the sprint is still successful. The team should first check for lost capacity, remove equivalent items from the sprint, focus on their highest priority items, and communicate regularly to avoid getting bogged down by process. By following these steps, the team can ensure that they complete their sprint goals and report on their progress.
Ballooning capacity is an issue that can occur in sprints, where a task takes longer or requires more resources than originally estimated. This can cause a team to fall behind on completing the work for the sprint, which is why it’s important to address the issue promptly. The approach a team takes to handle the situation will depend on when they knew the task had ballooned in capacity.
If the team knew that the task was a larger task when they started it but forgot to communicate it, then it is reasonable to remove something from the sprint to make up for the increased workload. This can also happen when tasks are brought into the sprint out of the scrum master’s radar and nothing was removed of equal or greater value. In these cases, removing a task from the sprint that is of equal or greater value to the amount the task ballooned by will help the team stay on track.
On the other hand, if the task ballooned while the team was working on it later in the sprint, it is not appropriate to remove it. Instead, the team should discuss why it ballooned. This is usually because of poor grooming or estimation. The team should take this as an opportunity to reflect on their processes and see if there are any areas that need improvement to prevent this from happening in future sprints.
It is important to note that the team should communicate regularly with each other and the scrum master to avoid ballooning capacity. This includes discussing any changes in the scope of a task or the resources required to complete it. By keeping everyone in the loop, the team can ensure that they have an accurate understanding of the work that needs to be done and can plan accordingly.
In conclusion, when dealing with ballooning capacity in a sprint, the approach a team takes will depend on when they knew the task had ballooned in capacity. If the team knew about the increased workload from the start, they should remove something from the sprint to make up for it. If the task ballooned later in the sprint, the team should discuss why it happened and work on improving their processes to prevent it from happening in the future. Regular communication is key to avoiding ballooning capacity in sprints.