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PMP Exam Prep Q #2 – Managing Scope – New Requirements

Q2. While demonstrating the Product Increment in the Iteration Review Meeting, the team discovered new acceptance criteria for the done user story. So, what is the best thing to do next?

A. Mark the user story undone and move to the next iteration
B. Create a new product backlog item with incremental requirements
C. Perform a root cause analysis on missing acceptance criteria
D. Ask stakeholders about the next step

Let’s first discuss what usually happens in an Iteration Review Meeting.

The team presents the completed work to key stakeholders. When stakeholders see this usable piece of work, they often get new ideas to improve the product further, and sometimes they feel the work could have been better. It is common for these feedbacks to discover new acceptance criteria for existing user stories. Learning new acceptance criteria during the Iteration Review meeting could be an example of getting ideas to make the product more usable.

The team takes feedback and pens down items that need to be added to the Product Backlog. You can call it an Incremental Requirement or incremental Acceptance Criteria for a user story. In Agile, we do incremental exploration of requirements where adding new user stories or acceptance criteria as work progress is quite common.

Now, let’s discuss options one by one –

Option A – “Mark the user story undone and move to the next iteration” – During the Iteration Review Meeting Team shows completed work based on the Definition of Done. Meeting the Definition of Done also ensures that all agreed acceptance criteria for user stories are met. So, for the acceptance criteria which are just being discovered, there is no need to mark Done User Stories Undone. If you keep opening those user stories based on the feedback, you may never finish a user story. You never move forward, so it is not recommended to open a user story again. Rather, it is recommended to create a new item.

Another problem with this option is that – If a user story mark Undone, it never goes to the next iteration directly; first, it has to move to the Product Backlog, and based on an understanding of the priorities of the next iteration, things move to the next iteration. In case after marking undone, user stories do not go to the next iteration; the team loses the sense of accomplishment even though the team did work based on the Definition of Done.

Option B- “Create a new product backlog item with incremental requirements” – Every project has some emerging requirements because It is impossible to know all requirements in advance. In other words, discovering new acceptance criteria for a user story is common. As all newly discovered items go into the Product Backlog, we can create new Product Backlog Items with incremental exploration.

In summary, this option is a candidate for marking the right choice.

Option C- “Perform a root cause analysis on missing acceptance criteria” This option says if, during the Iteration Review team discovers any new acceptance criteria –

 it is a miss by the team, and you need to understand its root cause to avoid it in the future. This option seems OK but may not necessarily be the next step. In Agile, we expect such discoveries; we do not take them as an exception.

But if you have a trend of such discoveries in the iteration review, it triggers you to do something about these gaps and focus on refining the product backlog item before you work on them. Also, later you can discuss this trend in a retrospective meeting. But, if you have to choose between B & C, B is better to do as the next step.

Option D – “Ask stakeholders about the next step” – As a project manager, it is your job to ensure proper requirement management and development. So, you and your team should be the one which tells how such things are taken care of rather than stakeholders telling what they feel is the right thing to do.

After examining all options, Option B is the best thing to do as a next step.

Deepen Your Understanding: After delving into the nuances of the Product Backlog and acceptance criteria in our questions, enhance your knowledge with these related blog posts:

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