What is a failed sprint?



  • A sprint has just ended. All stories, but one were done by the software engineers. Should the sprint be labeled as 'failed' because of the story that was not completed? What exactly is a failed sprint?



  • According to Mike Cohn

    It’s quite common for a team to have a bit of unfinished work at the end of an agile sprint or iteration. Ideally, a team would finish every item on its sprint backlog every sprint. But, for a variety of reasons, that isn’t always the case.

    Accordingly to Scrum.org:

    • The Scrum Goal is the creation of productive and creative products rather than projects.
    • Each Sprint is an experiment. Its results should be inspected and correspondingly adapted.
    • If it is impossible to Inspect the results of the Sprint (experiment) and to Adapt, it is considered a failure.

    From this, we learn the sprint shouldn't be labeled as failure just because one User Story wasn't finished (that User Story should go into product backlog and not directly into the next sprint though). When can we then say the sprint was a failure? If we can't inspect the results of the Sprint and adapt.

    Example of a failed Sprint:

    The team managed to complete a big number [sic] of functionality and brought to the Sprint Review exactly what it forecasted [sic] ("thanks" to some overtime and lowering quality). But nobody is present at the Sprint Review except the Product Owner. The Development Team never sees the end-users, and other stakeholders are always too busy to visit the Review. There is no feedback on the Increment. Then we skip the Retrospective because we have a lot of work to do. We start the next "successful" Sprint.



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