Saturday, December 24, 2011

In Praise of Slack

One of the oldest questions in Scrum is, 'to how much work should a team commit each sprint?' The standard answer is, 'as much as the team thinks it can finish, no more, no less'.

A team I am coaching stumbled on to a different approach. They committed to somewhat less work than they were certain they could complete. In fact, they were done two days before the Sprint Review. Those two days were used for working on internal quality ("technical investments" to prevent future technical debt), a last minute feature requested by a manager, and building down some accumulated overtime (from the days before Scrum).

Although the last minute feature proved to be not such a good idea (the story wasn't "ready"), everyone was quite happy about the positive side effects of slack.

One of those pleasant side effects was that the question of how to deal with unfinished stories didn't come up!