All about Abnormal Termination

October 9, 2017

Cancellation of a Sprint is a rare phenomenon in Scrum. The Product Owner has the authority to cancel a Sprint anytime before achievement of the set Sprint goals. This is known as ‘abnormal termination’ of a Sprint. As a result of the abnormal termination, all the activities of that particular sprint are canceled.

The most common reason a Sprint is abandoned midway is a change in Sprint goal. In addition to this, there are several reasons that may lead to an abnormal termination; they are:

  • Availability of a better technical alternative than that of the previous solution,
  • Influence of external forces like market demand and market trends,
  • New legislation or rule which requires compliance,
  • New features request or request to fix bugs in delivered features,
  • Change in strategic objectives of the organization.

We know that the best aspect of Scrum is its approach to changes that impact project delivery. In Scrum, nothing is regarded as a waste, and the termination is simply considered as an Agile reaction or course correction toward achievement of the overall project and corporate objectives. The work completed up to the abnormal termination is evaluated and the team considers if there is a need for re-planning or termination of the entire project.

Is Negotiation Required?

Management is rarely enthusiastic about an abnormal termination. They commonly treat it as an undesirable trait which needs to be addressed by the Scrum Team. The Scrum Master is needed to step in and remind management how Scrum is done and show them how ending a Sprint preserves the accuracy of team velocity metrics.


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