Within Scrum/Agile, if I have a story which is 90% completed, and the sprint ends, what should be done with this story?

The logical decision seems to be to move this into the next sprint, however if the story has high story points, then this will affect my burndown and capacity.


3 Answers 3


Great question Curt! What our teams do (we're operate in SAFe) is discuss unfinished stories first in the next iteration/sprint planning ceremony. If the PO sees business value in completing the story then the team decides if the acceptance criteria and ATDD needs to be updated to reflect the remaining work. Finally, it is re-pointed.

Hope this helps! Josh


If a work item is not completed, if it doesn't meet its definition of done, then its not done. Crediting your team with a portion of the story points is going back to old PM mindsets.

The correct thing to do is to bring it forward to the next sprint (as long as the PO still believes there is business value in completing the User Story). The aim of agile is to deliver business value, and there is no value in Stories 95% done and not implemented into a production environment.

Failing this there is a danger of having a backlog containing lots of nearly completed stories, and carrying these from sprint to sprint, clogging up your board. And worse, crediting your team with success for nearly completing them.

The best measure is done, 100% done, live and delivering value!

Good Luck with it !


The (purist approach) short answer: move it back to the backlog and let the product owner decide. How a reporting chart looks like shouldn't matter really.

Long (realist approach) answer: in some larger organizations with varying degrees of politics, governance requirements as well as top-down management, reporting progress matters. I have worked in projects where we could literally get penalized if we didn't hit 80% of the sprint backlog (ridiculous but that's how it is sometimes). In this case, see if you can break apart the 90% from the 10%. The former becomes part of the increment and you can adjust the user stories (with back dated impact) so your burn up/down charts look nice. The remaining 10% is moved to the backlog as let the PO decide what to do with it. Remember, with arbitrary estimation using story points, you have a lot of flexibility to manage the "chickens" whilst ensuring the "pigs" are as agile as possible.

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