Sometimes an iteration will get off to a brilliant start and it will become obvious that the Team will finish the planned Stories well before the iteration is finished. When this happens it is important to make sure that any new Stories that are planned in are planned properly.

When planning in new Stories consider the following:

Do

  • Make sure that the Team agree that ALL of the original planned Stories will get DONE.
  • Book an interim-planning meeting with ALL of the Team and the Product Owner to plan in the new Story(s).
  • Make sure that any new Stories are fully written and go through the same planning rigour as any Story planned in at the beginning of an Iteration.
  • Even if a Story is written and estimated it is important to review the Story as you would at any planning session to make sure the details, conditions of satisfaction and estimate are still accurate.
  • The Team must COMMIT to getting the Stories new DONE just like in any other planning session.
  • The new Story(s) become part of the Teams commitment for the Iteration and are included in any post Iteration metrics. If a new Story doesn’t get DONE don’t be tempted to wipe it from the records as it “wasn’t part of the original plan anyway”.
  • Review why the original plan wasn’t accurate at the Team Retrospective.

Don’t

  • Don’t pull work that the team cannot get DONE according to their Definition of DONE
  • Don’t just pull the next highest priority Stories off the backlog
  • Don’t plan in the new work at Standup
  • Don’t let the Product Owner make the decision for the Team
  • Don’t use previously written Stories without the Team fully reviewing them and confirming estimates

Why having extra capacity part way through an Iteration isn’t always great.

It might seem like a good thing to have a load of extra capacity part way through an Iteration but underplanning an iteration is still a failure to estimate and plan accurately. Also planning in new Stories part way through an iteration is less efficient than planning the same Stories the beginning so there is an impact on Velocity.

Retrospective

At the Retrospective ask why they original plan was underestimated. Understanding why we weren’t accurate will help is plan the correct amount of stories in future iterations.

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