A very common question asked by Scrum Teams all around the world is ‘how do we deal with issues that arise mid-Sprint’?

There are a few ways that teams can deal with these including what some might call ‘common sense’ re-prioritisation, but to have a process that cannot deal with the reality probably doesn’t do much for people’s respect or trust in the process.

So here’s one solution:

Require production to be healthy as part of the ‘definition of “done”’.

The definition of “done” can apply to both PBIs and increments, and so if production’s current health is required for an item to be declared as done, it has an automatic right to trump — by formally being an impediment — any ongoing work.

To explain further with an example:

A team is building a website. Part of their definition of “done” is that the increment has been deployed to their web server. If the team’s server physically explodes, they will not be able to deploy and therefore they will not be able to “do” any items, or achieve their Sprint Goal.

In this example, the link between the definition of “done” and the impediment is quite obvious.

The same principle can be extended for any production issue if it would inhibit the team’s ability to “do” what they had committed to doing, with the associated forecast.