During our Agile Webinar on Dec 11, 2014, we had so many questions we couldn’t get to, and still answering them. Here’s one on Agile Unplanned Work and Scope Creep.

Q: Adding scope means analyzing the risk to the business or to the customer’s usage

A: You are right if you add stuff to do, and don’t change other things. But if you add features or stories within a sprint and don’t take out things, yes that adds risk for sure. The risk consists of not getting stuff done, and the risk of doing things with poor quality. This happens to all of us when under pressure and asks to do more than we can in a certain timeframe. Poor quality is a risk for all, the business and the customer.

Additionally, adding scope is the same as unplanned work. Say you planned for 100 story points in the sprint but you added 20 more points after the sprint started. As when using waterfall, in agile, scope management and risk management are two different but related activities but both affect the final delivery.

Unplanned work, if not kept in check is an agile killer. No one likes to work overtime for any extended period of time which violates one of the key agile principles of working at a sustainable pace.

Q: In talking about “added work” or added scope, you might want to discuss risk.

A: Scope and risk may be related but not always. These will probably have different management philosophies used to manage them. Btw risk would be another useful metric, i.e., as a side effect (or precursor) to software quality and delivery success.