Scrum and the Theory of Constraints – Part 2

So what if you have user stories that are dependent on external resources? The answer act a little differently during sprint planning by subordinating specific user stories to resource availability:

  1. Check and see if there are user stories that have been marked with constraints. If so they take precedence over regular user stories. For each of them check if their constraints still hold and can be fulfilled – if so choose the story. If the constraints no longer hold, put them into the normal backlog and continue as usual.
  2. For every selected unmarked user story choose and analyse them as usual – if there are no external dependencies, continue. Otherwise mark the user story as one that has constraints. These stories require a bit deeper analysis to see if they can be split into 2 stories – one that requires the dependency, and another that doesn’t. Add the user story without the dependency to the current sprint, and mark the story with constraints to be handled later.
  3. For all the stories that have dependencies, the scrum master must work with management to schedule and assign the story to a specific future sprint (that of course is dependent on the availability of the resource).
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