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Who can replace Sprint Backlog items during the Sprint?

Last post 10:48 am September 28, 2023 by Ryan Kent
19 replies
08:51 pm March 5, 2017

Hi, Came across this question on a sample test. I feel correct answer is c) Development team but the source says that it should be a) No one.

Would love to get fellow members' view on this.

Q. Who can replace Sprint Backlog items during the Sprint?

a)No one

b)The Product Owner

c)The Development Team

d)The Scrum Master

e)The Product Owner and the Development Team together

f)The Scrum Team

04:15 am March 8, 2017


What's about (E)?

What does the Scrum Guide say?

10:18 am March 8, 2017

Answer is (c).

Only the development team can change its sprint Backlog during a Sprint. - Scrum Guide, Page 15.

Development team is sole owner of Sprint Backlog.

08:17 am April 7, 2018

Hi Srinivasa,

Yes I have chosen "C"(Development Team) as per the Scrum Guide but on sample question it shows this answer is wrong.

In sample question papers the answer is "no one".

What should i choose in the real exam? if i will found the same question.



09:11 am April 7, 2018

The Development Team wholly own their Sprint Backlog, which is their forecast of work for meeting the agreed Sprint Goal. During the Sprint they should replan it as needed in order to better meet the Goal.

If any Product Backlog items currently in the Sprint Backlog are to be removed or replaced, then the Development Team and Product Owner should collaborate on this matter, so any impact on the Sprint Goal is clarified and evaluated first.

It can be quite harmful to use third party tests, where there may often be incorrect answers and poorly thought-out questions.

10:05 am April 7, 2018

Hi Ian,

Thank you for your reply.

So as per your clarification, the answer should be "Product owner and development team".

I am preparing myself for PSM I and I have ready scrum guide many times, taking SCRUM OPEN assessment(now I am getting 100% continously) and Mikhail Lapshin quiz learning mode and real mode too and getting 100% continuously, so should I take the real assessment test now??

Do you have some guidelines for me so that I can increase my chances to pass the exam on the first attempt??

I don't have real Scrum experience but I am watching videos and trying to take the real feel of Scrum environment.

I am following inspection and adaption process for me now :)

Looking for your response Ian!!


10:51 am April 9, 2018

Have you also tried the PO Open and Nexus Open? Just to be on the safe side, as I thing you are close to being ready :)

10:56 am April 9, 2018

Hey Filip,

I have passes exam yesterday with 93.8%.

12:44 pm April 9, 2018

Hi, I also remember this particular question from mplaza, have you checked their feedback on it? should be useful :)

(The following is what I recall)

I believe the question refers to PBI's themselves, not to the work/tasks/plan defined by the Development team which they totally own and may change, add, remove, replace, etc. during the Sprint.

As the scrum guide states: "The Sprint Backlog is the set of Product Backlog items selected for the Sprint, plus a plan for delivering the product Increment. "

And "As new work is required, the Development Team adds it to the Sprint Backlog. As work is performed or completed, the estimated remaining work is updated. When elements of the plan are deemed unnecessary, they are removed." So it seems that 'elements of the plan' are not product backlog items themselves but the tasks defined to them.

On the other hand 'Replace' sounds to me like 'exchanging' a SBI for another item (supposedly from the Product Backlog, otherwise it'd be merely changing order within the Sprint Backlog, wouldn't it?).

Given that, what would happen if the Development team has the rights to exchange SBI's for PBI's in the middle of a sprint? Should they also be allowed to do it with the Product Owner? 

06:58 am September 10, 2019

Hi Kulsoom,

Since it is always recommended and as per scrum guide too, it is mentioned that the Development team is the sole owner of Sprint Backlog.

Hence any changes done in sprint backlog should be done by the Development team only. Though the Product Owner can also give a recommendation for the change, the final call is always taken by the Development Team

So, in my opinion, it seems to be an option C.

Cheers :)

09:30 am November 5, 2020

During the Sprint:
• No changes are made that would endanger the Sprint Goal;
• Quality goals do not decrease; and,
• Scope may be clarified and re-negotiated between the Product Owner and Development
Team as more is learned

12:56 am April 11, 2021

Hi Guys,

I think the question here is a little trickier than what meets the eye!

I believe the Sprint Backlog "Items" cannot be changed while a sprint is in progress - Yes, the plans may change and the work may get added or removed as feasible after each inspection - and that would be a change in Sprint Backlog. Sprint Backlog Items are the workable Product Backlog Items which have been picked for a particular Sprint during Sprint Planning, keeping in mind the Sprint Goal and that, as a matter of fact, should never change during a Sprint.

Hope this makes sense.


04:10 pm April 11, 2021

Why do you think that the selected items themselves cannot be changed?

06:39 am April 12, 2021

Hey Ian,

I think you are right. We may have changes to Sprint Backlog provided the Sprint Goal remains intact.

In that case PO and Developers should collaborate for adding any additional PBIs to the backlog for reaching the Sprint Goal (Developers have the final say).


10:47 am April 12, 2021

@Prakhar, what matters is the Sprint Goal.

If the team bring PBI's into the Sprint Backlog then have a "flash of realisation" that "the customers were asking for a faster horse" then giving the customer a car, is the right thing to do.


The objective is to achieve the goal, and

maximise the amount of work not done to achieve the goal.


That way you will be able to achieve more goals by doing less work. Customers want their goals met, not "code written."

04:19 pm April 12, 2021

Thanks for the clarification Garrie :)

That is right. I realized this after seeing Ian's comment - Its about the Sprint Goal basically. After all its Agility that we seek here. 

10:12 pm May 1, 2021

So the right answer is  a or e?

In my opinion the answer a is correct

Thanks a lot


01:51 pm September 25, 2023

Since I was struggling with it myself I wanted to share my thoughts:

initially I went with

"e)The Product Owner and the Development Team together"

or update Development Team with developers.

I see this supported by

"During the Sprint: ... Scope may be clarified and renegotiated with the Product Owner as more is learned."
p. 7


"If the work turns out to be different than they expected, they (the developers) collaborate with the Product Owner to negotiate the scope of the Sprint Backlog within the Sprint without affecting the Sprint Goal."


But then again you can argue that

The Sprint Backlog is a plan by and for the Developers.


and the devs can do as they please... so Answer "c)The Development Team" would be fine.


I'd specially highlight Juan's comment:

On the other hand 'Replace' sounds to me like 'exchanging' a SBI for another item (supposedly from the Product Backlog, otherwise it'd be merely changing order within the Sprint Backlog, wouldn't it?).

with which I'd agree. As long as we don't know what is meant with "replace" it's hard to decide.

07:58 pm September 27, 2023

Straight and simple: developers team in agreement with a Product owner can do it, as long as it does not reduce value and harm Sprint goal. Scrum master can advice, but doesn't  have a deciding power.

10:48 am September 28, 2023

Hi Rosi,

I know others provided caution when leveraging 3rd party exams, and will reinforce this as well. The Lapshin exam for example is still based on older 2017 Scrum Guide and I would not recommend using it to prepare for PSM. Terms and concepts of this exam are not fully aligned to 2020 Scrum Guide.

For this question, C is the correct answer out of the choices (and would be Developers now instead of The Development Team). Sprint Backlog is a plan by and for Developers and it may be adapted throughout the Sprint as more is learned through inspection. This could include Developers "replacing" backlog items in order to achieve the Sprint Goal.

Developers and Product Owner ought to collaborate if “replacement” needs to occur, but the specific act of “replacing” falls to Developers.

Developers may also renegotiate scope with Product Owner, but that may be different from “replacing”.

If you review the 2017 version of the Scrum Guide (which this practice exam was/is based off) the language is pretty specific about this…

“Only the Development Team can change its Sprint Backlog during a Sprint.”

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