Adding items to sprint backlog

Last post 01:28 pm June 1, 2017
by Andrew Lishomwa
3 replies
02:57 pm May 18, 2017

Hi All,

Lets say that development team had completed the sprint planning and committed a set of user stories.'

During the sprint, development team runs out of work. 

Is it allowed in scrum to add new work into the sprint. I have read that sprint scope is fixed in the sprint planning and should not be changed.

But it would be inefficient to be idle in the sprint when we are done with the committed stories and sit idle for the rest of the sprint.

Can anybody clarify?


04:51 am May 19, 2017

Scrum guide's following statements will answer your doubts,

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.

So do anything, take more work or ask team to read a book as long as above 3 are addressed.

11:05 am May 25, 2017

Finishing early can be a under-commit issue. Keep in mind this for the retrospective. 

Regarding adding more work, if it aligns with the sprint goal and the team agrees after negotiation is possible to "pull" more stories to the sprint but be aware to no overcommit.


08:28 am June 1, 2017

Hi Mahesh,

From the Scrum Guide: 'As new work is required, the Development Team adds it to the Sprint Backlog.' and 'Only the Development Team can change its Sprint Backlog during a Sprint.'

The Sprint Backlog belongs to the development team, if they have finished all the items on their plate they can certainly pull in more work as the team deems OK. As posters above have noted it's best practice to be guided by the Sprint Goal and pull in related items or items that help take that forward. 

Don't forget that there are other useful activities you might want to use the time for including backlog refinement sessions, team learning, coaching etc