Unfortunately in the last sprint the team had a number of incomplete stories. What happens to those stories, when will they be completed.
One of your team has gone of sick with 5 days left in the sprint, sadly she will not be back this sprint, she is working on two tasks critical to the highest priority story, what do you do ?
Allot of people in the world, especially in the Agile world use the terms Minimal Viable Product, Minimal Marketable Product (MMP) to talk encourage people and teams to keep focused on the core value add or the product, yes value add, the product elements that should change the world. The product elements that should shine a light on your vision. Its about doing just enough to get it out the door into the light of day, to meet the customer and see what they really need.
However there seems to be in the world another us of this approach, one that does not go well but people try to hide under the MMP, when the product becomes a rehash of what’s already there, without reformulation or new vision, just a marginal rearrange, no value added, nothing original to stimulate or empower the consumer, just enough to maybe pass as something new to a quick look, but on investigation it rapidly becomes the “Same old, Same old”. This is a disservice to their customer, to their product and most of all themselves. When this happens it fools nobody.
When you build your product, be proud, change the world, bring your vision to the masses, say something worth while, for all of us.
Once a person reaches a state of flow with a task (fully focused and owrking optimially) once they are interupted it typically takes Twenty three minutes for them to get back in to the task and 30 mins to get back to that peak performance “state of flow”, basically every time you interrupt me you could take me an hour to get back to where I was before interuption. The scary side is they found there is a One in Eight chance I wont go back at all that day, thus diverted away fromw whats needed.
If someone is working, unless its really needed, and you cant make progress alone, leave them alone or wait until they are on a break. Naturally common sense applies.
Here is a great link to an blog post by Steve Pavlina on interruption and its impact on a persons productivity and ability to work. This goes with the general rule of slicing people time, every time you slide a person between projects you lose 10% of the net capacity and this explains some of that in more detail. its also interesting that there is a 1 in 8 chance the person you disturb does not get back to the task at had on the same day.
This really enforces the Agile view that tasks should be short and focused to people can get things done, that establishing a rhythm is good so people can plan there time without interruption and that having a person such as a scrum master whos job is to help prevent interruptions is a high value role.