Scrum and Problem reports

Anthony Lucia
Anthony Lucia used Ask the Experts™
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In the contexts in which I studied Scrum, it is usually development oriented, with a Product owner assigning priorities to tasks and negotiating their level of effort and acceptance criteria with the dev team.

My question is how do you use Scrum in a maintenance environment, where you have a stable system, and what usually happens is trouble tickets or reports will come in, and the project leader will assign the problem to various personnel.  Does Scrum work in this environment.  I ask because the management concerns would probably bring a lot of pressure to change assignments of the most proficient programmers if a problem with a huge severity comes in during the middle of a sprint.

How would Scrum work in this case, and would Scrum actually be a good and useful candidate to lead such a project given the realities of the situation.  Do firms currently use Scrum when handling maintenance issues, and if so how would they handle a problem with a huge severity during the middle of a sprint?
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Scrum can handle either newer projects or older projects. Your team can decide how to handle emergencies. Some may choose to end the current sprint and start a new one. That may be good for a problem which requires a large amount of work. More common is to add the emergency item to the sprint and remove a lower priority item (or more than one).

The shorter your sprints are, the less pressure you will have to change your current sprint. The reason is that priority changes can usually wait for two weeks until the next sprint (if your sprint is two weeks). If you have month-long sprints, there will be more pressure to make changes.

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