No matter how skilled and well-developed a Scrum Team is, it can also recourse to a certain action called Abnormal Termination. As we can guess from its name, this is not a normal action, but Scrum developers couldn’t but include in the system and optimize it.
Anyone who deals with any kind of software development knows that it is especially difficult to work with code and logics of other people. Whenever a Scrum team has to upgrade certain processes of a website, the technicians evaluate the difficulty of a task according to what has been already done before. After a number of meetings and a Planning Poker session, a Backlog is created and it becomes cleared how much time is needed to complete it. After the Sprint has started it turns out, that the inner structure of a website is built in a way which prevents the Team from applying the planned changes without modifying the code heavily. It becomes necessary to evaluate the number of required changes and time limits. Analysis itself also takes time and as a result, the Burndown chart starts looking unattractively. If a Team realizes that it possible to modify the code within the original time limit, they add the tasks to the Backlog and continue the work. Otherwise, they push the Stop button, performing the Abnormal Termination process.
Who is responsible for the Abnormal Termination?
Generally, it is the Scrum Master, who supervises the work of a Development Team and he decides if there are any problems or not. Let’s imagine that a Scrum Master decides to stop a Sprint, because the difficulties have built up. He stops the Sprint and, according to the rules, begins planning a new one. As we know, the Product Owner takes place during the planning process and when asked “What should we do during the new Sprint”, he replies “The same you’ve been doing 10 minutes ago, before the Sprint has been stopped”. A Product Owner, as a sort of a final authority, worries mainly about the product and its quality. He doesn’t pay much attention to the Team. So in this situation, it would have been better if the Product Owner himself decided to perform the Abnormal Termination: no questions, concerning the next Sprint would have been raised and the Product Owner himself would have paid attention to the necessity of changing the development course, as he would have been aware that the current course leads to a dead end. The Product Owner stops the Sprint if the assigned goals have disappeared.
But to tell the truth, in reality it is hardly possible that a Scrum Team would dispute the decision to perform the Abnormal Termination, because everyone is interested in succeeding.
It should be mentioned that very often it is the Development Team itself, which decides to stop the Sprint, because no one else can understand the current status better.
Anyway, the meeting is held after the Sprint is stopped, during which the causes for the Abnormal Termination are discussed.