Sprint Re-negotiation

Last post 10:45 pm February 4, 2022
by Dan Schre
3 replies
09:37 pm February 3, 2022

Ran across this on the practice test:



The Developers find out during the Sprint that they are not likely to build everything they forecast. What would you expect a Product Owner to do?

(choose the best answer)

Correct answer: B.
You chose: E.

This question displayed answers in random order during the test.

A. Inform management that more resources are needed.

Missed correct answer B.Re-negotiate the selected Product Backlog items with the Developers.

C. Cancel the Sprint.

D.Skip Product Backlog refinement activities.

Incorrect answer E.Change the Sprint Goal.


During the Sprint, scope may be clarified and re-negotiated between the Product Owner and Developers as more is learned.



This answer threw me because "Product Backlog" items are not part of the sprint, so why would you be negotiating them when you would be moving items out of the Sprint Backlog, not the Product Backlog? I feel like this question is misleading, and it should say "Re-negotiate the selected Sprint Backlog items with the Developers" 

Besides, isn't changing the sprint goal also a "scope re-negotiation", which is what the text says a changed sprint is.


08:14 pm February 4, 2022

Re-negotiate the selected Product Backlog items with the Developers.

Notice it says "the selected...".  The Sprint Backlog is made up of Product Backlog Items that the Scrum Team chooses to address during the Sprint. The contents of the Sprint Backlog are still Product Backlog items.  Envision the Sprint Backlog as being a subset of the Product Backlog Items that are going to actively worked on during the Sprint. 

This is the opening paragraph from the Scrum Guide's section that describes the Sprint Backlog.

The Sprint Backlog is composed of the Sprint Goal (why), the set of Product Backlog items selected for the Sprint (what), as well as an actionable plan for delivering the Increment (how).

No where in the Guide does it mention or allude to items being in the Sprint Backlog no longer existing as a Product Backlog Item. A Product Backlog Item lives until it satisfies the Definition of Done.  A Sprint Backlog Item does not exist according to the Scrum Guide.

A reason that your selected response is wrong is that some Sprint Goals can still be achieved even if the contents of the Sprint Backlog changes.  The entire contents of the Sprint Backlog does not have to be in support of the Sprint Goal.  That goal is to clearly communicate and understand the reason for the Sprint.  It should be crafted to express the most important work needed in the Sprint. But you could have something not related to the Sprint Goal in the Sprint Backlog.  For example, you may have a defect that was found in Production to fix an incorrect phone number on a "thank you for responding" modal.  But the Sprint Goal is to add additional functionality to the sort capabilities. Fixing the thank you modal may not support the new sort capabilities but it could be considered highly important to complete in the next Sprint.


08:37 pm February 4, 2022

This answer threw me because "Product Backlog" items are not part of the sprint

Why do you think so?

Besides, isn't changing the sprint goal also a "scope re-negotiation"

No. It would be a change in commitment...meaning it would fail to be a commitment at all.

10:35 pm February 4, 2022

Ah, yes, my confusion was thinking that product backlog items "graduate" into sprint backlog items and are separate, not that the sprint backlog is a subset of the product backlog. 

I'm realizing this is a tool issue - I use Jira, and think of the Jira Backlog as the Product Backlog. Which I guess it is not.