When working on a software development team, completing all the work within a sprint is the goal. However, there may be situations where the team is in danger of not completing all the work in the sprint. In such cases, it’s important to take quick action to ensure the team can still accomplish their goals. Here are the steps that a team should follow if they find themselves in this situation:
- Check if the team lost capacity: The first step is to check if the team has lost any capacity. This can happen due to unplanned vacation or sick days. If this is the case, the team should remove an equivalent item from the sprint to balance out the workload.
- Check if tasks ballooned in capacity: The next step is to check if any tasks have ballooned in capacity. This may occur if a task was not properly communicated to the scrum master, and as a result, the task’s complexity was not properly accounted for. If this has happened, the team should remove another task from the sprint of equal or greater value to the amount the ballooned task increased by.
- Focus on highest priority items: If the team is still struggling to complete all the forecasted work, they should focus on the highest priority items. These items should be identified by the sprint goal. If the team can’t complete all the work, they should at least commit to completing the sprint goal tasks. If there is no sprint goal, the team should focus on their first definition of done.
- Get work to the first definition of done: The first definition of done generally means the task is completed and ready for review. By focusing on getting all work to this point, the team can report that all work was at least completed but some tasks still need review and to be merged. Traditionally, tasks take the longest to move across Kanban boards to get to ready for review, so the team should focus on completing these first.
- Reinforce teamwork and communication: While iterating through these steps, it’s important to reinforce the idea that the whole team is responsible for completing every task in the sprint and working together to complete the sprint. The team should be communicating regularly to avoid any process delays. For example, a team member should not simply place work in the ready for review column, unassign it, and wait for someone to pick it up. The team member completing the work should reach out to their team and plan for someone to immediately pick up the work.
It’s important to remember that a team should not let the process get in the way of progress in these situations. The team should be working together to find solutions to any issues, and communication is key. By following these steps, a team can ensure that they are still able to complete their sprint goals, even if unexpected issues arise.