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Scrum – Can you extend the Sprint duration midway through a Sprint because of some reason

The Sprint duration is typically a fixed duration, being the same for every such Sprint. Getting a fixed Sprint duration means that the team is able to work out many processes that increase efficiency, allows the Sprint team to develop a rhythm; such fixing of the duration also allows various stakeholders including the ScrumMaster and the Product Owner to evaluate the progress of the team over multiple time periods and figure out improvements in efficiency; and also check out some of the environmental conditions (including morale and team friction) that come into play over a period of time. If for any reason, the Sprint duration gets changed, this can actually shake all these observations; further, if the team sees that the duration of the Sprint can get easily changed, it can shake the confidence of the team in the Sprint, and leaves a certain amount of variability regarding this Sprint duration.
Now, let us see the actual condition in which the Sprint duration may need to be changed. Consider the case where a set of User Stories have been marked for a Sprint and the team had done the proper estimation and set up a series of tasks to be completed during the Sprint. Now consider that the team is doing a series of tasks and finds that one of the tasks is getting delayed due to some impediments (and could even be that the estimation for the task was not proper); the Product Owner considers this task as very important and needs to be ready at some point in the current Sprint even if the Sprint is extended.
So, it comes to this point, where the Product Owner is pushing to extend the Sprint duration so that the important task is completed and can be showcased to clients or to other stakeholders. So, what should be done then ? Well, I talked to some experienced ScrumMasters, and the majority opinion was that the Sprint should not be extended. Due to the problems that I listed above, extending the duration of the Sprint is something that really needs to be avoided. One way to get the important task done earlier is to reorganize the pending work, and some of the pending work can be set aside for the next Sprint and more effort put into the critical task. If not possible, then the work should be moved to the next Sprint where the appropriate amount of effort can be estimated for completion in the next Sprint.

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