Our development team estimates that they can complete 30 story points in the current iteration. Partway through the sprint they realize that they will complete 50 story points at their current rate. What we should do?
Great question, and a great problem to have :)
If a team is ahead of schedule, it's still ultimately up to them as to how to manage their work. I suggest asking them what their stretch goal should be relative to the next highest-value yielding work in the product backlog, all while providing transparency to the PO. There's nothing that says you can't deliver more value than you initially anticipated.
Also congrats to your team!
What a wonderful problem to have - to be ahead of schedule.
Besides for trying to get ahead on future tasks, I would suggest the following:
- Code reviews
- Adding comments to the code
- Updating specs to match to match the code
- Blackbox and whitebox testing of code
- Some fun activity; otherwise you may essentially be punishing the team for doing a great job by giving them more work to do.
If the Product Owner is doing their job then there should be some more stories ready to go in the Product Backlog - get stuck in to the highest priority one(s) that will fit in the remainder of the sprint.
If it is frequent then it is the major concern. In retrospective meeting you should discuss this point with team and find proper action items.
Why? Because you are not properly utilizing the team or doing wrong estimation of the user stories. So consider the team capacity.
If it is once in a while or first time. You can get more user stories from backlog for the development or groom the backlog/ epic/ user stories, mostly needs confirmation from PO.
Also you can do research development task for future sprints.
I've actually had this occur on a few occasions. I let the development team pick and choose issues from the upcoming sprint to either incorporate into the current sprint (time permitting) or get a head start on the next sprint. It seems to work really well.
If this happens a lot, the capacity of the team might be exceeding the story points being allocated to the sprints. The obvious remedy here is to start either allocating more story points or readjust how the story points are assigned to issues.
I'm wondering: 1. How good is their story point estimates? Are they awarding too many story points for too little work? 2. Is this a trend? That is has this happened in previous sprints? If so...see #1 above.