In agile development community, we get a lot of “what if” questions. “What if the product owner decides to change a story in the middle of the sprint? What if he adds a new story altogether?” or “What if a crucial team member slips on banana peel and becomes immobile for a significant period of time?”
Deal with it
The short answer to those mind-boggling questions is “Deal with it.” Then we might add “Just make sure that the issue is addressed during the next retrospective meeting so it won’t happen again.”
Let’s take take a closer look at the “changing the story” question first. During the sprint planning meeting, the team members agreed on how much work was to be completed during the sprint. Imagine that somewhere along the way, the product owner wants to add a new story or substantially change the existing story. Now, we could safely assume that the product increment for the current sprint is in danger of not being completed. However, if the change is minor, then we shouldn’t worry and just carry on with our work, knowing that it won’t cause much disruption (especially if it’s aligned with our overall goal).
The Scrum Master is the first person who deals with these kinds of things. He needs to keep the extraneous details from distracting the team and ensure that everything is running smoothly. As a righteous protector of the realm, the Scrum Master may ask:
There are few questions that the team must answer (in no particular order):
Sitting side by side with the product owner, the team will look into the matter more deeply and then come up with a viable solution. The possible outcomes are:
Initiating the constant improvement engine:
No matter how the team decides to deal with the situation, the item needs to be addressed in the retrospective. During this process, you can ask the following questions:
During this retrospective meeting, the team has to come up with some solutions that will prevent disruptions from happening again. That’s how you get better over time – that’s constant improvement!