This is an online question on the Certified Scrum Master (CSM) v7.0 (CSM-001). However, I don't understand why the answer is A instead of D:

You are the Scrum Master. The Sprint will complete in two days. Each day of the Sprint is equivalent to 8 hours. The team has just enough time to complete all tasks in the remaining 16 hours with the exception ofthree tasks. Of these three tasks, two tasks (a total of 6 hours) are required to complete one Product Backlog item and one task (an estimate of 2 hours) is required to complete another Product Backlog item. How shouldthe development team handle the remaining three tasks?

A. The development team should negotiate with the Product Owner on the definition of "done"
B. The development team should work the extra 8 hours to complete their commitment to the Product Owner
C. The development team should place the two Product Backlog items back onto the Product Backlog
D. The development team should keep the three tasks on the Sprint Backlog for the next Sprint and complete those tasks first

  • 4
    It's kinda scary seeing work tracked in hours in a CSM exam. I don't recall this being part of any Scrum guide.
    – Tiago Cardoso
    Dec 8, 2020 at 9:12
  • 3
    This question is super weird and all the answers are wrong. Whatever this exam tests... it does not seem to be Scrum.
    – nvoigt
    Dec 8, 2020 at 11:15
  • 2
    A almost sounds right because the Developers and Product Owner can negotiate scope that doesn’t endanger the Sprint Goal, but not the Definition of Done. All the answers are essentially wrong, or (at best) incomplete and misleading. C is probably the “least wrong,” though.
    – Todd A. Jacobs
    Dec 8, 2020 at 12:47
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    Also, caveat emptor. The small print for the site lists no legitimate backing company, and says: ITExams doesn't offer Real Microsoft Exam Questions. ITExams Materials do not contain actual questions and answers from Cisco's Certification Exams. CFA Institute does not endorse, promote or warrant the accuracy or quality of ITExams. CFA® and Chartered Financial Analyst® are registered trademarks owned by CFA Institute. In other words, I have no idea how the site makes money (if they do), but they aren't a reliable source of anything.
    – Todd A. Jacobs
    Dec 8, 2020 at 12:59
  • 4
    Could I ask you to edit the question to be clear that this is a question from a third party practice test and is not, in fact, from the CSM just to avoid confusion from anyone finding it in the future?
    – Daniel
    Dec 8, 2020 at 21:22

2 Answers 2


Considering that the question itself is kind of a mess (e.g. 8hours, remaining16, ofthree, etc) you can't really expect all of the answers to be correct.

A is partially true. The development team should negotiate with the Product Owner and figure out what they will do with these tasks and the two backlog items that they belong to. However, the negotiation does not mean that you can bend or change the definition of done.

As with all these tests, the correct example depends on what the supporting material was and what the person that built the test was thinking about when phrasing the questions. The Scrum Guide itself just sets up some constraints, rules and guidelines within which each team decides on how to organize their work. It is not so prescriptive as to tell you exactly what to do with the unfinished work (it does say it returns to the backlog though, so C looks like the correct answer).

The Definition of Done creates transparency by providing everyone a shared understanding of what work was completed as part of the Increment. If a Product Backlog item does not meet the Definition of Done, it cannot be released or even presented at the Sprint Review. Instead, it returns to the Product Backlog for future consideration.

But again, it depends on the test. In a real context, the team might just decide that they can, for example, work the 2 extra hours and finish at least one of the product backlog items and return just one to the backlog, or both can be returned to the backlog, or give up on other product backlog items instead of these two (the question isn't clear when they figured out they don't have enough time), etc. In reality, it really depends on the context, the team, and what they negotiate with the PO.


None of these answers are good.

Generally, this question seems to be about the Scrum Team's outputs rather than the outcomes enabled by the work completed in the Sprint. The Sprint's purpose is not to complete Product Backlog Items or tasks but to achieve the Sprint Goal. To ensure visibility and transparency, there should be a connection between the Sprint Goal, some of the selected Product Backlog Items, and how the Product Backlog Items are decomposed during Sprint Planning. There's no mention of the Sprint Goal in any of the answers.

Looking into the answers, they are all wrong.

A is incorrect because the implication is that the Definition of Done will be relaxed to allow the work to be considered Done. Relaxing the Definition of Done is the same as decreased quality, and "quality does not decrease" during a Sprint. The best time to review the Definition of Done is at the Sprint Retrospective, so the updated Definition of Done can guide the next Sprint Planning. I'd also hold that quality should not decrease between Sprints, either, so changes to the Definition of Done should not lead to a decrease in the quality of the work performed.

B is wrong since working extra time goes against working at a sustainable pace. Not only is a sustainable pace a part of Scrum, where it promotes focus and consistency, but it's a principle of Agile Software Development.

C is the closest to being right, but it is still wrong. Incomplete Product Backlog Items do return to the Product Backlog, but this happens at the end of a Sprint. The nuances of how this is done depend on the tools being used, but knowing what work was complete, started but incomplete, or not started is useful to facilitate discussions at the Sprint Review and Sprint Retrospective. The team should not remove the Product Backlog Items from the Sprint Backlog until the end of the Sprint, at which point the Product Owner can determine if they are still relevant and order them with the other Product Backlog Items for a future Sprint.

D is incorrect because C is partially right. Work does not roll over automatically between Sprints. Incomplete work must be brought into the next Sprint at Sprint Planning, even if it is started or partially complete. If the work is not valuable, it could end up lower in the Product Backlog or even removed entirely. The Product Owner needs to work with the Developers to weigh the work's state, the cost of incomplete work, and the value of doing the work to decide how it is ordered.

Given the poor quality of the question and answers, I'd also be suspect of the quiz and any training or certifications offered by this organization. It doesn't seem to align well with the Scrum Guide. Looking through the link provided, there are several questions that I disagree with, based on the last two revisions to the Scrum Guide. I'm not sure the answers were ever correct according to the Scrum Guide.

  • A) could potentially mean descoping the features, i.e. splitting the tasks, but either way, you'd end up with tasks that aren't getting done in the Sprint.
    – Llewellyn
    Dec 8, 2020 at 22:17
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    @Llewellyn I'm not sure how you get that. A specifically refers to negotiation over the Definition of Done, which is a specific element of Scrum that makes it clear when any arbitrary Product Backlog Item or the Increment is considered "done". Decomposition of work is orthogonal to the Definition of Done.
    – Thomas Owens
    Dec 8, 2020 at 22:27

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