Scrum is supposed to allow teams to comfortably meet their goals and commitments on a regular cadence, yet teams often miss their commitments.
Think about it. How many of your recent sprints have had all the backlog items completed by the end of the sprint without the need for heroics such as engineers working long hours or weekends?
Sometimes people even blame Scrum for these problems but it’s not Scrum and it’s not a lack of technical practices, story-writing techniques, or conversations about stories in a sprint that are causing these issues.
The underlying cause of all these issues is almost always that teams start implementing stories before they are mature. Working on a story that is not ready to be worked on leads to a litany of problems such as mid-sprint surprises, delays while someone chases down the answer to a question, missing dependencies discovered during development, missing details needed to make good product decisions, defects reported on scenarios nobody ever discussed, poor estimates, contradictory requirements, and more.
Some people believe this is how it’s supposed to be, that Scrum requires each user story to be a lightweight “promise for a conversation”. Yet user stories aren’t even a part of scrum. Scrum doesn’t even recognize the existence of user stories, so it certainly can’t have an opinion on what goes in them.
Scrum supports additions to your team process and one of the most important additions your team can make is to add our Requirements Maturation Flow, which ensures product backlog items are truly mature and ready to be implemented before they are transferred into a sprint backlog at sprint planning.
Implementing the Requirements Maturation Flow solves all the aforementioned problems, giving your team clear, complete requirements every sprint. This means they’ll be able to estimate well and make attainable commitments. They won’t be blindsided by missing dependencies or details and they’ll be able to deliver consistently, sprint after sprint.
Meeting sprint commitments will be the mode, not the exception. And the pace of delivery will actually increase. We’ve had teams that implemented the Requirements Maturation Flow go from being chronically behind to having their customers ask them to slow the pace of delivery.
In our 2-day, online Better Requirements for Scrum course, you will learn how you and your team can implement the Requirements Maturation Flow, guaranteeing a comfortable, predictable, reliable pace of delivery.