Sprint planning has completed, sprint goals set, all is well. 2 days in the PO asks the lead developer if they could add a new item into the sprint, "it's an easy fix" "another team wants this".

What should the developer and the Scrum Master do? What is the conversation?

1 Answer 1


The Scrum Master is accountable for ensuring that everyone interacting with the Scrum Team, including the people on the Scrum Team, understand the way of working. In the Scrum framework, the Sprint Backlog is "by and for the Developers" - only the Developers may make changes to the Sprint Backlog. If the Product Owner discovers something new after Sprint Planning that they think is more important than other work on the Sprint Backlog, they would have to have a discussion with the Developers. The Scrum Master may facilitate this conversation.

Any such conversation should be about the Sprint Goal and how the unplanned work impacts the team's ability to meet their commitment to achieving the Sprint Goal. In the case where the team can take on the work without putting the achievement of the Sprint Goal in jeopardy, they may opt to take it on. However, if the Sprint Goal would be placed in jeopardy or if the Sprint Goal is invalidated by this unplanned work, the team may have to make a determination on what to do. The most extreme response would be cancelling the Sprint, which would be the determination of the Product Owner, but isn't possible in all cases.

  • Good answer. Some developers treat the PO like a manager, even with the SM coaching. I have found that the PO will sometimes go in the backdoor, asking certain developers in private to look at things, taking them away from their sprint goals. How does the SM handle this? Commented Oct 20, 2022 at 13:31
  • 1
    @learnerplates I don't see how that question is any different. The Developers need coaching to say no. The Product Owner needs to understand the risk with bringing in unplanned work, to limit it to the most critical work. Individual developers need to be able to say no, pending conversations with the rest of the team.
    – Thomas Owens
    Commented Oct 20, 2022 at 13:41
  • I guess the question is what happens when the PO and even some developers cannot be coached, even after all your best efforts? Commented Oct 20, 2022 at 13:46
  • 1
    @learnerplates I see two options. Perhaps they need coaching from someone else, with a different background and coaching style. People need to be taught in a way that they can effectively learn and not everyone can teach or coach everyone else. Or if they are unwilling to learn or accept coaching, they would need to be removed from the organization. If someone's desired way of working does not align with how the team and broader organization is working, then they may not be a good fit.
    – Thomas Owens
    Commented Oct 20, 2022 at 13:49
  • 1
    @learnerplates The Scrum Master doesn't only coach the Scrum Team, but the whole organization. Perhaps "management" needs coaching and education on agility and various agile methods and frameworks, including Scrum.
    – Thomas Owens
    Commented Oct 20, 2022 at 14:47

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.