In a recent retrospective the development team and product owner mentioned that while a lot of tasks of stories on the scrum board were done at the last day of the sprint, but that there were a lot of loose ends for all stories. The burndown chart, showing both hours and story points, looked a lot like this for our team.
We identified, based on our previous experience, that when you encounter an unexpected issue on that last day, you practically cannot finish any story in that sprint. This is particularly disappointing, as in most cases the tasks that need to be done are quite mundane and easily finished.
Therefore, during the retrospective we agreed upon the experiment (i.e. improvement) to limit the amount of stories in progress. We think this is the way to really work together as a team to finish stories in the right order, and be a cross-functional team (developers are not only developing, but also testing each others work).
For us, as a team of three we set the limit to three stories. We will play with this variable a bit in the next months, in order to learn from it and keep improving ourselves.
This sprint, which is drawing to a close in a few days, is currently going pretty well with this new approach. Stories are actually getting done in the correct order, and developers are also doing testing, or are working closely together with the tester in the team.
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