What do you do if your Sprint is derailing?

Sprint Derails

Did your Sprint Derail?

I am sure its happened to the best of us, you spend time refactoring your backlog; prioritising it to ensure everyone is on the same page. You complete your Sprint Planning and are ready for a successful sprint. What happens if you are a few days into your sprint; all of a sudden everything gets turned upside down. Your sprint derails?

Imagine you planned to integrate with a 3rd party library, or service provider and for some reason contract negotiations fail and you you can no longer continue with those tasks. Imagine a project that for some reason gets de-prioritised and is no longer valid to be worked on.

It might be decided that its best to end the Sprint early if it’s derailing.



Should you Terminate Early?

In my opinion, I think that if most of the sprint goals cannot be completed and it is beyond repair, then its OK to end the sprint early. What should you do about the next sprint after the derailed one?

I think in this scenario you need to run a sprint of abnormal length. You shouldn’t disrupt your usual sprint planning and have a normal sprint length, 2 or 4 weeks as you usually do them.

If you work in 2 week springs, 10 working days and on day 4 you decide to terminate your sprint, you then do a 6 day sprint so that your planning remains on track, and your team stays in its normal routine.

If like me, you have worked in teams that like to end the sprint on a particular day, you are ensuring that this remains. Your sprint meetings like the Review or Retrospective do not need to be rescheduled. Getting business team members to attend these meetings might already be a challenge.

In closing, the key factor in doing this is communication. If you are going to cancel the sprint early due to it derailing, make sure everyone is on the same page. They should understand the impacts and if any meetings need to be rescheduled everyone knows.

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