In Scrum, Can A Sprint Be Cancelled? If So, When?

Scrum framework and sprint

Scrum development is fundamentally about adapting to changes occurring during the product development cycle. Scrum levies a lot of significance to transparency, distribution of work, and incorporating changes even “late during the development stage”. Each individual is assigned a specific role in the scrum framework. The person is strongly advised to perform within the boundaries specified by the role he or she is supposed to play, and not transgress the “area of work”. In scrum, the product owner too has a specific role to play, and is responsible for creating and maintaining the product backlog.

The product owner has the final word while working out the list of requirements needed to develop the product – the user stories – which form the backbone of any product backlog. Each user story is further divided into individual tasks, which are taken up by the team members. These tasks are developed during the sprint activity. A sprint activity, or simply the “sprint”, is nothing but a “burst” of development activity undertaken by the team members which generally lasts from a week to ten days up to a maximum of four weeks.

At the end of the sprint, a meeting is conducted to analyze how much work has been completed and how many user stories are been successfully completed by the team. So, in many ways, the sprint functions as the main essence or the “heart” of the scrum process. Sprint planning plays an integral part in the scrum framework.

scrum tool | scrum | sprint planning

Can a sprint be terminated abnormally before it is completed?

Development teams have to complete the user stories and tasks well within the duration fixed for a sprint. It is very important to complete the sprint if the management desires positive results through scrum implementation. However, under some unusual or rare circumstances, a sprint may be required to be “stopped” or terminated before it has a chance to run its full iterative cycle. It is the product owner who decides whether the sprint can or should be terminated.

Some of the reasons, which may induce the product owner to terminate the ongoing sprint, can be:

  • The stakeholders or the company management changes its priority regarding the product development
  • Market trends and/or changes make the current product development redundant or obsolete
  • A major technology change may introduce newer ways and methods of working
  • A better technical solution may offer a quicker and a more cost effective way of meeting the product development
  • The management or the stakeholders may experience a financial crisis, or may not be able to financially support the development work
  • The launch of a new or better product may render the current development work superfluous and unnecessary

Check our extensive Agile Scrum knowledge base covering a host of topics which may prove useful to you in understand Scrum framework.

About mrugeshpanchal

Mrugesh Panchal works as a director in Bharti Consulting Services SARL, a leading solutions provider company having its headquarters in Clichy, France and operations center in Vadodara, Gujarat – India. The company has several subsidiaries – Bharti Soft Tech Pvt. Ltd which offers development and consultancy services catering to the I.T. market, and Bharti Nutritions Pvt. Ltd. which offers health products. Mrugesh is a co-founder of the QuickScrum Tool, a powerful, easy to use, and versatile web based application centered on Scrum methodology. The product is developed and marketed by Bharti Soft Tech Pvt. Ltd, which is a Bharti Consulting Services SARL undertaking. The QuickScrum Tool is an agile, dynamic, easy to use, project management tool which incorporates scrum methodology. To know more about the scrum tool please visit
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