How to Showcase Incomplete Work in Sprint Review

It is good practice to have transparency in status of stories committed in sprint backlog

Sprint review, the second last important ceremony in the sprint. As per the scrum guide“The purpose of the Sprint Review is to inspect the outcome of the Sprint and determine future adaptations. The Scrum Team presents the results of their work to key stakeholders and progress toward the Product Goal is discussed. “

Sprint Review
Photo by Vlad Hilitanu on Unsplash

Every sprint team’s deliverable may not be the same. Sometimes team can complete the committed work, sometimes they may not. When the team is not able to complete all the work, the team feels hesitant to showcase the incomplete work to the customer. As a result, they want to defer the sprint review. This situation becomes difficult for a scrum master to handle. He wants this ceremony to happen in sprint duration only. Conversely, the team is not ready for the demo. So how scrum master will handle this situation?

I think it’s OK to just showcase completed stories only. Therefore scrum master can discuss this with the team. He can convince them to showcase completed stories first. Later team just talks about incomplete stories. What challenges team was facing and why could not complete the stories? Next team discusses a possible timeline to complete and showcase the pending stories.

It is always advisable to demo completed stories. Hence try to get feedback on completed stories and notify customers of incomplete work. On the whole, have the status transparent with customers and stakeholders. The team should have complete transparency with stakeholders. There should not be any dark work.

Further Action

The team should review the cause for incomplete stories in retrospective. The team should review whether it was due to overestimation or some blocker or some other reason, due to which the team could not complete all the committed stories. Accordingly, they should have improvement actions decided for further sprints.

Hope this will help you to guide your team on handling incomplete work in sprint review.