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Scrum Emergency Procedure

The Scrum Emergency Procedure is a crucial component of the agile methodology, inspired by Ed Atterbury’s experience of being shot down over Hanoi. This procedure helps companies, teams, and individuals identify problems and respond quickly to ensure that projects remain on track. The ability to address unforeseen issues is vital to maintaining the agile spirit and maximizing productivity.

Why the Scrum Emergency Procedure Pattern is Important

The importance of the Scrum Emergency Procedure lies in its capacity to swiftly address emergent requirements, technical problems, and the loss of critical people or capabilities during a Sprint. When the Development Team realizes that they cannot achieve the Sprint Goal due to unexpected challenges, this procedure enables the team to make critical decisions and adapt in order to minimize the impact on the project.

In any field, unforeseen issues can arise that may jeopardize the successful completion of tasks. The Scrum Emergency Procedure helps teams remain agile and adapt to such challenges, ensuring that work continues to progress and that projects stay on track.

How to Use the Scrum Emergency Procedure Pattern

To implement the Scrum Emergency Procedure, follow these steps:

a. Recognize the issue: Identify the problem affecting the Sprint, whether it’s emergent requirements, technical problems, or the loss of critical resources.

b. Consult the Product Owner: Communicate the problem to the Product Owner and collaborate on finding the best solution to address the issue.

c. Execute the Scrum Emergency Procedure:

  1. Change the way the team does the work by adopting a different strategy.
  2. Get help or offload backlog to another team or individual.
  3. Reduce the scope of the project.
  4. Abort the Sprint and replan.
  5. Inform management of the impact on release dates.

d. Reflect and adapt: After addressing the issue, analyze the situation to identify any lessons learned and areas for improvement.

Final Thoughts

The Scrum Emergency Procedure is a critical tool for maintaining productivity and ensuring the successful completion of projects in the face of unexpected challenges. By swiftly addressing problems as they arise, teams can remain agile and maintain momentum on their projects. Implementing the Scrum Emergency Procedure not only helps teams overcome adversity, but also fosters a culture of continuous improvement and adaptability that is essential for success in today’s fast-paced world.


“Emergency Procuedure.” Scrumplop.org

John Shook. “How to Change a Culture: Lessons from NUMMI.ˮ In MIT Sloan Management Review 51, Winter 2010, pp. 63–68.

Jeff Sutherland. “Future of Scrum: Parallel Pipelining of Sprints in Complex Projects.” In Proceedings of Agile Development Conference (ADC’05), Denver, CO: IEEE Press, 2005.

Mike Rother. Toyota Kata: Managing People for Improvement, Adaptiveness and Superior Results. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2010.

—. “Poke-yoke.ˮ Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poka-yoke, 19 May 2018 (accessed 6 June 2018).

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