As a ScrumMaster, have you ever been getting close to the end of your Sprint and realized that you have more work to do than you have days left in the Sprint? It happens, and that’s why I’m frequently asked about increasing the Sprint length to allow the Scrum Team to finish the work and reach the Sprint Goal. So – should you do this?

The definitive answer is NO. NEVER. But unfortunately, I see a lot of Scrum Teams handling this issue in the wrong way. Here’s the thing: The purpose of a Sprint is to set a limit on the amount of work you’re going to do so that you don’t do too much work only to review it and discover tons of mistakes that were made.

Adding time to a Sprint while you’re in it is a bad habit – it encourages it to happen again in the future, and longer Sprints (especially when unplanned for) are riskier because they’re more expensive, more complex, and there’s a huge potential for time and work to be wasted.

When you plan to run a 2-week Sprint, what you’re really saying is that you’re going to put enough work into the Sprint to ensure that the team can remain focused and work uninterrupted for 2 straight weeks, and get as much done as possible in those 2 weeks. Sure you want to TRY to get it all done by the end of the Sprint, but if you’ve been watching any of my other #AskArtisan videos, you know that the most important thing to accomplish by the end of the Sprint is the Sprint Goal. Getting all the work done is secondary.

So you really don’t ever want to add days to a Sprint, and for that matter, you don’t want to shorten a Sprint either! The only time a Sprint would change after it’s started is if you canceled the Sprint, and that’s the topic of an entirely different #AskArtisan video!

Be sure to check out more of our #AskArtisan video series!