We coded something which works but is quite terrible. We have planned the refactoring of that piece of code in this sprint but since it doesn't really fit in a user story, how do we add or represent this? Nothing will change at front-end, just back-end.

  • Why do you think you need to represent it specially? The Sprint Backlog is the team's to manage, and refactoring should be part of any properly-planned agile estimate.
    – Todd A. Jacobs
    Oct 20, 2018 at 21:43
  • It's more that I don't really know where to put it. Do I move the User Story back to In Progress and add it as a task or do I put it somewhere else? That part of the code is of two sprints ago. Oct 20, 2018 at 21:59
  • 1
    Forget the old story: it’s new work. The task belongs to whatever current story requires the refactoring, or its own story if refactoring is the deliverable.
    – Todd A. Jacobs
    Oct 21, 2018 at 0:18

1 Answer 1


You have several options, including:

  • Add a task to the backlog that covers this (perhaps labelling it as technical debt)
  • Add a technical sub-task to a story that is already in your backlog

In the second option, what you are saying is

To complete this story and deliver a quality product to our team's definition of done we should include refactoring this piece of code

As an example, I worked with a team that wanted to replace a JavaScript library with a better version. They added the refactoring work as technical sub-tasks on a number of stories, each of which touched on different pages on a website. Once all of the stories had been completed they had also completed the library upgrade.

What I like about this approach is that it demonstrates that code quality is built-in to your delivery of functionality.

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