Unplanned Work During a Sprint

by Sheila Eckert

We’ve all been there. “Hey, can you help me with this issue I am having?” “Can you run a quick report?” A critical production bug needs to be addressed. You are asked to attend one or more unplanned meetings.

You need to do it.

Often the practice is to deal with it and not make any changes to the sprint backlog.


You need to create a new sprint backlog item. It needs to be estimated and added to the sprint.

Not doing so will throw off metrics.

Metrics matter. Productivity metrics, project metrics, quality metrics, Agile health metrics. Metrics are used for the team’s own measurement and improvements. They are used to measure the effectiveness of the Agile process as well as the teams. They are used for reporting to stakeholders. They are needed.

If you have work unaccounted for during the sprint, you have thrown this out whack. That’s the technical term for your data is invalid 😊.

If you are using invalid data, you are creating invalid, useless metric reports.

Unplanned work needs accounting.

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