“We didn’t meet the Sprint Goal — let’s extend the Sprint”

Are you serious? — episode 26

One of my teams struggled during the Sprint. The team expected to present a Proof of Concept at the Sprint Review. At a certain point they found that they needed one or two days extra. That’s when someone said: “We have nothing to demo, let’s extend the Sprint”.

The good thing about this remark is that the person wished to show something to the stakeholders — for feedback and to show actual progress:

“Working software is the primary measure of progress.” — Principle of Manifesto for Agile Software Development.

Inspection of the increment also is a key purpose for the Sprint Review.

Still… there are two issues with this remark in the context of Scrum.

  1. Firstly, the Sprint Review is far more than a demo only, as I discussed here:

Re-reading this article I feel the need to write a follow-up to elaborate why the Sprint Review exists. The Sprint Review is an important inspect and adapt moment to receive feedback on what was planned, what was done and what was discovered. A demo can be part of it.

2. The other issue is:

“Once a Sprint begins, its duration is fixed and cannot be shortened or lengthened.” — SG

This is a clear statement from the Scrum Guide. But what are the reasons for this? Well:

  • You wish to have consistency and as a result reduce complexity. You know when you have your events, it’s all very clear.
  • You wish to have consistent length of the Sprints to have an understanding of the capacity of a team to optimize predictability.
  • To quote the Scrum Guide:
“Scrum is founded on empirical process control theory, or empiricism. Empiricism asserts that knowledge comes from experience and making decisions based on what is known. — SG”.

This is why you have the Scrum Events with regular intervals. You make transparent to your stakeholders what you learned. Together you inspect what you learned in order to adapt:

“…each event in Scrum is a formal opportunity to inspect and adapt something. These events are specifically designed to enable critical transparency and inspection.” — SG

Back to my struggling team: for the reasons mentioned in the article I advised them to NOT extend the Sprint and to proceed with the Sprint Review, to be transparent on what they planned to do and how they decided to adapt. Sure, it is fantastic to have something to show, but reality bites sometimes. Being transparent about this show the maturity of the team.


Did you like the article? Then it would be awesome if you’d clap 👏🏻. I am also very keen to learn what you think about this topic.

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