During a Sprint - Do you know when to create bugs?

Last updated by Alex Rothwell [SSW] about 1 year ago.See history

This is a very common question asked of teams using Scrum. The answer can depend on a lot of things, such as:

  • How big is the bug?
  • Can it be fixed right now?
  • How important is quality to the product?
  • Are there dedicated testers as part of the team?

Regardless of your answers, there are basically 2 types of bugs:

  • Found in code currently being developed (in-Sprint), and
  • Found in code previously thought done (out-of-Sprint).

In-Sprint bugs

For stories that are in progress, there are some guidelines:

Typically you want to fix all bugs discovered during the Sprint or else they could impact the team’s ability to achieve the Sprint goal:

  • If it’s a small bug (< 1 hour to fix) and taking the time to fix it won’t impact the burndown, then just fix it
  • If it’s a larger bug (> 1 hour to fix) and taking the time to fix it won’t impact the ability to achieve the Sprint goal, then create a Bug work item, associate a Task and have a team member perform the fix during the Sprint
  • If it’s a larger bug (> 1 hour to fix) and taking the time to fix it will impact the ability to achieve the Sprint goal, then create a Bug work item to be prioritized (by the Product Owner). This prioritization will decide whether the fix occurs in the current Sprint. Note that whether the bug is fixed in this or a later Sprint, you may not be able to achieve your Sprint goal
  • If another team member finds the bug, then they should create a Bug work item and then the team decides if it can be fixed in the current Sprint or needs to be prioritized (by the Product Owner) to be fixed in a later Sprint, in which case you may not be able to achieve your Sprint goal The team decides how many hours "n" equals

Out-of-Sprint bugs

For stories that the team had previously considered done, here are some guidelines:

  • If the bug is not critical (i.e. a hotfix), then create a Bug work item to be prioritized and fixed in a later Sprint
  • For a critical hotfix, do whatever needs to be done to get the fix into production, knowing that your current Sprint commitments may be impacted. Adjust the team’s capacity accordingly, especially if lots of hotfixes start occurring Tip: Don’t create an associated task to fix a bug until the Sprint in which the team commits to fix it starts

See rule on Do you know how to handle bugs on the Product Backlog? for how to work with bugs on your backlog.

Source: Extracted from Accentient’s Scrum Training by Richard Hundhausen.

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