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The Scrum Guide doesn't directly address how to incorporate scope changes into your Scrum implementation. What I mean by scope changes is a material change to an existing Product Backlog Item(PBI), or an emergency last minute PBI. As such, it is left up to the implementers to decide how to handle it. The strategy(chart) below is one I've developed as a result of coaching teams that are new to Scrum.

I hope you don't need the chart. I'll say it again. I hope you don't need the chart below. I hope that you have so few late breaking PBI's and material scope changes that you don't even really need to worry about having a strategy to handle mid sprint scope changes. But, for the teams that need some guidance on how to incorporate these occurrences into their Scrum implementation, see below for one way to approach it. I also feel compelled to say that if you find yourself needing this strategy/chart often, you probably have some serious root cause analysis and retrospecting to do on these occurrences. I'm not saying these occurrences will always be a bad sign, just that many of them probably could have been prevented by better practices elsewhere.

If your scope change is due more to existing weird behavior in the system (possibly a bug or other production support issue), then use the Bradley Bug Chart instead.

If your scope change is enormous, and possibly makes the vast majority of current Sprint work moot (such as a re-org or company buyout, or some other major event), then read the text in the Scrum Guide to see if "cancelling the Sprint" is applicable. Note that cancelling a sprint is an extremely rare occurrence -- see the Scrum Guide for more on that.

I fully expect that each team will define their own strategy for handling this kind of stuff. Remember, this is just an example.

Why I include "Bradley" in the name.

Please be sure and read the "Preface" section on the chart below. You can also download an 8.5 X 11 PDF version.

I welcome any feedback you might have, as like all things Scrum, I expect to inspect and adapt it again after receiving feedback. You can email me by putting Charles in front of @ScrumCrazy.com .

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To potentially be addressed in the next version of the chart:

  • (Major, Important) -- Add language to include the most recent update to the 2013 Scrum Guide about not "endangering the Sprint Goal"
  • Change the name of the chart to "The ScrumCrazy.com Scope Change Chart"
    • After this change is complete, we will need a corresponding article change here: Why I include "Bradley" in the name.
    • After this change is complete, keep a link to the previous version as PDF.


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