What to do when a developer is on vacation at sprint planning

Last post 06:45 am January 8, 2016
by Bill Pennock
6 replies
05:18 pm January 6, 2016

We have a small team with 2 developers, 1 designer, 2 developers who have part time other responsibilities and a tester. one of the primary developers is off on the week of the Sprint Review and Sprint Planning meeting. Our cadence is every 2 weeks. He will be back for a good part of the sprint though and will need to do some work. So how do you handle that?

10:59 am January 7, 2016

How does the team want to handle it?

It seems there is a small capacity impact for the upcoming sprint with one of the primary developers out for part of the sprint. If the entire team is familiar with the stories at the top of the backlog, they should be able to base their acceptance on their remaining capacity.

That is the strength of cross-functional teams and relative estimating!

02:56 pm January 7, 2016

I would say, go ahead and hold the events; a team worked on a sprint should be able to hold the Sprint Review without that developer being present and a cross functional team should be able to plan a next sprint also. The team should have refined the stories that enough knowledge is available in the team.

04:21 am January 8, 2016

Another thought:
Scrum recognizes no titles for Development Team members other than Developer, regardless of the work being performed by the person; there are no exceptions to this rule;
If you implement this rule, which is another step in your Scrum adoption, you will see that it doesn't matter which Dev Team member is missing during Sprint Planning or during a part of the whole Sprint. The remaining team will be able to make a forecast based on team capacity.

05:26 am January 8, 2016

Go ahead and execute your sprint with some adjustment for the velocity. This is your team's check on self-disciplined, self-organized and cross functional domain.

06:39 am January 8, 2016

Reviews, Retrospectives, and Sprint Planning are formal opportunities to inspect and adapt. They are not the only opportunities to do so. A team is at liberty to self-organize additional sessions at any time, and should be encouraged to do so if it helps to overcome or minimize impediment.

06:45 am January 8, 2016

Thanks. We did go ahead. I have been teaching cross functional team membership as much as possible within the skill set. They did decide they could do the ceremonies and they took on what they expect to finish based on slightly lower velocity. So effectively they decided how much the developer that was out would be committing too even with him not there. The product owner was happy, we will see how the sprint executes but it was a good set of sessions.