Joshua Java

Handling absence in Scrum teams

Posted on: October 16, 2008

Vikaz Hazrati brought up a hot discussion that I throw in scrum development mailing list about handling absence in Scrum teams. The reason why I throw this question because I want to know whether Scrum still can deliver the backlog on schedule eventhough one or some of the team member is absent. It was quite an interesting discussion and some great feedback from some of the Scrum masters.


1 Response to "Handling absence in Scrum teams"

I think one of the main points of scrum is that when an experienced member of the team is absent others aren’t sitting around waiting for them to return. The story with the highest priority, the story you are working on, is not left undone and is not at risk. If the team swarms on stories and knowledge about systems has been shared between those with lots of experience and those less experience at tasking, no single person’s absence will cause the current story to be at risk. A team member’s absence can be viewed as an unexpected decrease in velocity. Clearly the team velocity will decrease when people are absent but as long as you do one story at a time, only the last story will be at risk. A good scrum team will be able to adapt to this kind of change.

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