The holiday season is upon us and rather than doing another post about my goals or new years resolutions I thought it’d be interesting to look at how a Scrum Team should handle the challenges of having so many people off at once.
There are two sensible approaches towards Scrum over holidays when a significant proportion of the team are taking holidays. The first is to stop sprinting and resume in the new year. The team won’t set any Sprint Goals and anyone who is working will “make themselves useful” through tacking tech debt, process, or L&D type work. It’s passable… but I don’t like it.
The second option is to look at what exactly Scrum provides us with. Firstly, Scrum states that the next Sprint begins as soon as the previous one expires. There is no concept of breaking sprints in the Scrum Guide and the expectation is that a team will continue to run sprints from the day they’re formed (or adopt Scrum) until they’re either dispanded (or select another framework).
Instead we should look for an achievable Sprint Goal with at least one potentially shippable Increment which meets the Defintion of Done. This should be agreed by the entire team (or at least everyone who’s available). Therefore, rather than abandoning Sprints or Scrum altogether over the holiday seasons the team should look at what is achievable in the limited amount of capacity which will be available. Even if the goal is to fix a single typo then that is acceptable. As long as there is a single team member working at all then there should be a feasible Sprint Goal, the trick becomes looking at what’s realistic and possible during that time.
Do not be tempted to compromise. Whatever the increment should be it must meet the team’s Defintion of Done. Don’t “develop but not test” or “code but not merge”. Look for a single, simple improvement to the product which can be delivered in that time. Even if it’s only a simple bug fix.
With that suggestion I’ll leave you as I’ve got family stuff to do. This post is due to go out on Monday so if you celebrate Christmas I hope you’ve enjoyed it and if it’s your New Year coming up then I wish you all the best for it.
Thanks for reading and see you in 2022!