Tester: Carry-Over Work

Estimates are rarely perfect, so it is possible, even probably early on, that there will be some work remaining incomplete at the end of an iteration. The team intentionally decides what work is recast as smaller tasks that are complete, what is redefined as additional tasks deferred into the backlog or the next iteration, and what work is recommended to be dropped from the project scope altogether (the decision for this is at the Product Manager or above level).

Carry-over work should be addressed on the last day of each iteration.

Who does this practice

Here are the roles involved in this practice:

What to do


Inputs to this practice include:

  • Current iteration stories not completed or partially completed


  1. Identify which category unfinished work belongs in.
  2. For features/stories not started or undeliverable, do the following:
    1. Clone incomplete story with its sub-tasks.
    2. Put new cloned story in future iteration or backlog, or drop from current scope and accrue as technical debt.
  3. For features/stories partially completed and deliverable with acceptable work/rework, do the following:
    1. Identify work completed.
    2. Create new story for work completed with new acceptance criteria and appropriate story points.
    3. Reassign applicable, completed technical tasks from old partially, completed story to new story just created.
    4. Accept new story and sub-tasks within current iteration.
    5. Create new story for incomplete portion of carry-over story with new acceptance criteria and appropriate story points.
    6. Reassign incomplete sub-tasks to new story.
    7. Place in backlog or next iteration.

Tools and techniques

Tools and techniques that help with estimation include:

  • New stories sized for work accomplished
  • New stories sized for work remaining


Everyone participates in reviewing carry-over work. The Team Agility Coach is responsible for ensuring the activity is completed by the last day of the iteration.


Here are some expected outputs from this practice:

  • Accepted stories for partial work accomplished.
  • Rescheduled remaining work

When to do this practice

Carry-over work should be addressed on the last day of each iteration.

Where to do this practice

This practice is done in the team work area.


The benefits of this practice include:

  • Remaining work is always accounted for. It is rescheduled for the next iteration, backlogged, or dropped from current scope.
  • Gaining credit for the partial work completed on accepted stories.
  • Sustaining a rational and intentional approach for rescheduling remaining work.