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39984Re: Exchanging stories within the sprint...

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  • Sean Hart
    Jul 20, 2009
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      --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, "Petri Heiramo" <petri.heiramo@...> wrote:
      > > > Don Gray wrote:
      > > >>> The sprint is 2 days old and we find out that one of the stories is
      > > >>> not needed, so we skip it. The Product Manager (not the PO) comes to
      > > >>> the standup and asks us to exchange the story with another one which
      > > >>> has equal story points. What would you do?
      > > >>
      > > >> I'd ask the Product Manager to discuss this with the Product Owner.
      > > >> If there's room in the sprint for another story, the Product Owner
      > > >> should be the person to bring the story to the team.
      > >
      > > > +1
      > >
      > > Yes. The PO has the sole responsibility to select what is to be
      > > done, AFAIK.
      > 100%, but the team must still accept that change. And they have the right to say no, which then means that the product backlog is changed, or that the PO must make other prioritizations so that the story fits in the sprint (like removing other lower priority stories off the sprint).
      > Yours, Petri
      > ---
      > Petri Heiramo
      > Process Development Manager, Agile Coach (CST)
      > Digia Plc., Finland

      Exactly - don't lose sight of the fact that the sprint is the result of negotiations between the team and the business. Also, blindly assuming that you can just swap out one story for another with an equal estimate while the sprint is in progress. Two days into the sprint, some amount of work has been done on that story, even if a single test or line of code has yet to be written. The redacted story has been vetted by the team and PO, and it probably has undergone some decomposition of tasks. In other words, the team has already started down a path where this story is planned to be among the body of work intended for delivery.

      Regardless, I would only recommend suspending or loosening the "immutable sprint contract" principle if your team and PO/business have developed a good working relationship with one another. Also, I think you want to discourage your PO from just finding a story in his/her backlog with the same estimate as the obsolete one. That smacks of giving the team "busy work," instead of helping them to provide additional value. Instead, try getting the PO and the team together, and find a way to alter the conditions of the PO's highest-priority story to a point where the PO is happy with the value delivered, and where the team can comfortably commit to taking it on during the sprint.

      If your team and the PO are still feeling each other out, that may not be the best time to introduce an alteration to the sprint. Instead, encourage them to pay down some of the technical debt that any software development team is likely to incur. Or encourage the team to come up with some improvements for one or more of the stories on the sprint backlog (perhaps there was some desire of the PO that was negotiated out of the sprint's scope during the planning session, and now the team has the bandwidth to get it done). Or, if the team is done significantly early, maybe you can consider cutting the sprint short (I'd save that as a last resort, if you would be stuck with a team that is twiddling its thumbs for several days).
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