December 9, 2021

How the Sprint Backlog Supports Adaptation - Back to the Foundations of the Scrum Framework (29)

Remember that Scrum is founded on empirical process control, and that adaptation is the third pillar, following transparency and inspection.

Each of the Scrum Artifacts is adapted in one or more Scrum Events in order to minimise deviations to acceptable limits which they have learned during inspection.


Adaptation is making adjustments in order to minimise any deviations to acceptable limits concerning agreed goals.


This also applies for the Sprint Backlog.


The Sprint Backlog is typically adapted during Sprint Planning and during the Daily Scrum. And given the Sprint Backlog is expected to provide a real-time picture of the work still needed to achieve the Sprint Goal, also throughout the day, every minute of every day as new insights become available the Sprint Backlog is kept up-to-date.


Each time new insights are gained about the progress towards the Sprint Goal, the Developers do make the necessary adaptations.

  • work that is finished, new work that is started,
  • work that is blocked,
  • additional work identified, or work no longer deemed necessary,
  • Product Backlog Items that are Done, or no longer needed, or additional ones that support the Sprint Goal,
  • releasing a new Increment during the Sprint itself,
  • a new hypothesis that needs to be checked to determine the next steps during the Sprint,
  • a risk being identified, or addressed and closed,
  • etc. etc. etc.


Adaptation are made in order minimise deviations to acceptable limits concerning agreed goals. For the Sprint Backlog this agreed goal is the Sprint Goal.



Once the Scrum Team together agreed the Sprint Goal, the Product Backlog items deemed necessary, and how this will be delivered in the Increment, the Developers adapt the Sprint Backlog to provide a real-time picture of the Sprint. 



Together with your Scrum Team, evaluate your Sprint Backlog:

  1. When is your Sprint Backlog updated? Only shortly before the Daily Scrum or during it; or throughout the day?
  2. How do you ensure the Sprint Backlog shows a real-time picture of the progress towards the Sprint Goal?
  3. How is transparency provided at any given moment what the remaining work is for this Sprint? And how is it transparent what work is already finished - with the expected outcomes of it?


We hope you will find value in these short messages and if you are looking for more clarifications, feel free to take contact.

Next week we'll have a look at Adaptation and the Increment.


Oh, in March 2022 we have an exclusive in-person event in Belgium's capital you might want to check out: From one Scrum team to large multi-team effective product development.


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How does your Sprint Backlog support Adaptation?