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sprint goal commitment with absent development team members

Last post 09:52 pm June 1, 2021 by Markus Falk
4 replies
07:32 pm May 25, 2021

As the guide says commitment to the sprint goal is given during sprint planning by the developers. 

Image a situation in which a developer misses that event but is available during the sprint. How would the remaining developers deal with the the commitment to the sprint goal?

I see different options and I am not really happy with any of them: 

* present developers only commit to what they could achieve during the sprint

* make assumptions on what could be accomplished with the missing developer

* postpone the sprint planning and get commitment when the missing developer is back

* renegotiate the scope of the sprint goal to enhance it with whatever can be achieved now that capacity grew


Thanks for your ideas :)


05:12 pm May 26, 2021

Just because a developer misses Sprint planning doesn't mean that they are not committed to the sprint goal, because the sprint goal is created during that event, in order to provide focus during the sprint. 

As long as the scrum team bring the absent developer up to speed with what went down during that event and as long as the absent developer understands the agreed upon sprint goal, they will be able to commit to it during the sprint. 

05:57 pm May 26, 2021

The Scrum Guide says: "The Scrum Team commits to achieving its goals and to supporting each other".

If you join the team, you take on its commitments, including any already planned for the current Sprint. The issue you describe is one of availability, and the extent to which an absentee's return might be foreseen by others during Sprint Planning. Could they foresee it?

08:03 pm May 26, 2021

Since you have the PSD certification I will assume that you are a developer.  Why would a single developer missing prevent the rest of the developers from making a commitment for the whole team? 

The team commits to the Sprint Goal and progresses forward as if no one was missing.  That is what a team that has trust among the members will do. All of your options seem to imply that every developer is only committing to work that they feel they will be doing.  The lack of trust, the self-centered commitments seem to point to a bigger problem. 

I ask you if this same concern exists if a developer misses a Daily Scrum?  Or a Sprint Review? Or Sprint Retrospective?  What about if one developer misses out on all Product Backlog refinement activities?  If not, why would Sprint Planning be any different?

02:16 pm June 1, 2021

Thank you all for your answers. They are really helpful! Yes the team could foresee the return. Yes I am a developer. 

In my question I purposefully left out that I think exactly alike because I didn't want to bias any answers and because I needed to verify my understanding of Scrum for further discussions. Sorry for being a bit misleading. 

I too think there are bigger issues at play here. It is just like you all said. All are committed, all help each other out and all should be able to trust and help each other to get things done.

Most interesting to me is that the options I had given point to self-centered commitments even for those that do not even know the team :D and because that in retrospect is the biggest challenge I am currently facing.

Thanks again :)


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