The Importance of Managing Work in Progress (WIP) in Scrum Projects

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Take a look at the results at the end of a sprint on a Scrum project. There are two scenarios. Both have the same user stories with the same story points for each:

  • User story 1: 13 story points
  • User story 2: 8 story points
  • User story 3: 3 story points
  • User story 4: 5 story points
  • User story 5: 1 story point
  • User story 6: 3 story points
  • User story 7: 1 story point

Scenario A

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Here are some details on A:

  • User story 1: 70 hours of work performed, 5 hours of work remaining
  • User story 2: 51 hours of work performed, no work remaining (and it meets the Definition of Done [DoD])
  • User story 3: 45 hours of work performed, 13 hours of work remaining
  • User story 4: 29 hours of work performed, no work remaining (and it meets the DoD)
  • User story 5: 3 hours of work performed, 2 hours of work remaining
  • User story 6: 30 hours of work performed, 17 hours of work remaining
  • User story 7: 4 hours of work performed, 1 hour of work remaining

A is summarized as:

  • 232 hours of work was performed, and 38 hours of work remains
  • 2 user stories were done, and 5 user stories were not completed

Scenario B

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Here are some details on B:

  • User story 1: 75 hours of work performed, no work remaining (and it meets the DoD)
  • User story 2: 51 hours of work performed, no work remaining (and it meets the DoD)
  • User story 3: 58 hours of work performed, no work remaining (and it meets the DoD)
  • User story 4: 29 hours of work performed, no work remaining (and it meets the DoD)
  • User story 5: 5 hours of work performed, no work remaining (and it meets the DoD)
  • User story 6: 14 hours of work performed, 33 hours of work remaining
  • User story 5: no work performed, and five hours of work remaining

B is summarized as:

  • 232 hours of work was performed, and 38 hours of work remains
  • 5 user stories were done, and 2 user stories were not completed

What Counts

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Scrum requires teams to build an increment of functionality during every sprint. Only work meeting the Definition of Done (DoD) is counted as complete, demonstrated at the sprint review meeting, and is potentially shippable.

There were two scenarios. Both had the same user stories with the same story points for each, and the same amount of work hours performed. Yet the outcomes were dramatically different. In A, 2 user stories were done--and are to be demonstrated at the sprint review meeting, and are potentially shippable. In B, 5 user stories were done--and are to be demonstrated at the sprint review meeting, and are potentially shippable. B is the better scenario.

A possible explanation for the differences between the two situations is that the Scrum team in B may have done a better job of limiting Work in Progress.

To learn more about agile/Scrum, check out the award-winning book, Agile Scrum: Your Quick Start Guide with Step-by-Step Instructions. You're invited to visit the digital press kit, watch the trailer, and pick up a copy of the publication—it’s available in paperback and ebook—at Amazon.

*****

You're invited to connect with Scott M. Graffius on social. Like his page on
Facebook, follow him on Twitter, and connect with him on LinkedIn.

Scott presents thought leadership on project, program, portfolio, and PMO management related topics of timely importance. He delivers talks at private and public events in the United States and internationally. For information on availability, fees, pro bono work and more, visit
SpeakerHub.

For more information, you can visit Scott's personal
website, review his bio, and read additional stories in the blog. The websites for his business and award-winning book are http://Exceptional-PMO.com and https://AgileScrumGuide.com.





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"Agile Scrum" Book Trailer — Updated on 13 April 2018

Agile Scrum Guide | Official Book Trailer from Scott Graffius on Vimeo.


Scott M. Graffius of Exceptional PPM and PMO Solutions™ had consulting engagements with a division of a global entertainment business. A fantastic agile transformation experience with that client was the inspiration for his book, Agile Scrum: Your Quick Start Guide with Step-by-Step Instructions. This is an update on the book.

The new book trailer for Agile Scrum is live at https://vimeo.com/178858753 (and it can be played above). This new version highlights some editorial reviews, and it features fresh music and additional updates. The total run time is 1 minute.

Agile Scrum is available in paperback and ebook formats at Amazon. For more on the book, see the digital press kit at AgileScrumGuide.com.

*****

You're invited to connect with Scott M. Graffius on social. Like his page on
Facebook, follow him on Twitter, and connect with him on LinkedIn.

Scott presents thought leadership on project, program, portfolio, and PMO management related topics of timely importance. He delivers talks at private and public events in the United States and internationally. For information on availability, fees, pro bono work and more, visit
SpeakerHub.

For more information, you can visit Scott's personal
website, review his bio, and read additional stories in the blog. The websites for his business and award-winning book are http://Exceptional-PMO.com and https://AgileScrumGuide.com.





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