I have been playing with Scrum methodology since year and half. I am using VersionOne as scrum tool. I have tried to follow most of the scrum principles. Sometimes, I feel like there is an issue with transparency of the stories. As of now, the whole team can get an access to all stories defined for the project. This creates issues with different levels of developers like junior and senior level developer.

People's complains are about the work distribution or type of work they are assigned to. There is an issue of comparison among the developers. I don't know if I am following scrum properly or not.

In scrum, should we give access of the all stories to everyone? or only assigned person can view his/her story?

5 Answers 5


Give all the stories to everyone, let anyone pick the story they want to work on - however, restrict the number of stories within a sprint to a number you think can be done, and make sense from a point of view of delivery.

The whole aspect of agile, including scrum, is that the team should make the decisions of what to work on and how to achieve it, not individuals. So you should consider the team as a whole and let them decide who gets to work on what. As long as the delivery completes all the stories (not just the fun ones) then all's good.

All team members should be seeing progress of all stories that are being worked on during the standups - so they can all work as a team. If you have a situation where some people get 'good' stories to work on, and others get the testing and documentation, then there's something wrong with the team itself. Break hierarchies down, flatten the structure so everyone is equal and make sure they all know they are all responsible for delivery.

  • I appreciate your answer. But, If I let my team choose the story they want to work on than there might be some discrepancies. As an outcome, there are chances that some stories can be assigned to wrong person. But, as per your answer, it is good in a way that, dependency can not be generated.
    – JLP
    Sep 11, 2013 at 19:01
  • 2
    @jigish - Do you really think your team is not able to assign stories to people who can do the work? They may not get it perfect for the first couple of sprints, but they'll learn. Are they now being assigned perfectly? You'll get fewer complaints if developers are allowed to take ownership.
    – JeffO
    Sep 11, 2013 at 21:03
  • Leadership (as distinct from management) is crucial. Choice is important for buy-in and commitment. The leader realizes that for developers the meeting is like standing naked among strangers. A sure fire way to achieve failure is to make a team member look bad in front of others. The real work may be behind the scenes. Discussing issues privately,knowing the team members and the stories, fairly distributing stories, hooking up pair programming as needed, trading work, fostering joint ownership of code. It ain't easy.
    – radarbob
    Sep 12, 2013 at 0:25
  • @jigish the idea is you decide what stories go into the sprint, so you know what should be in the delivery at end of it. But then you leave the team to figure out for themselves how to achieve those stories themselves. The stories can never be assigned to the wrong person, as everyone in the team should be able to learn how to do that work - even if it means someone else will be heavily helping them, the team can make that decision though. eg. if only 1 guy gets all the DB work and he quits, you then have no-one who can do the DB work, that's bad.
    – gbjbaanb
    Sep 12, 2013 at 11:59
  • @gbjbaanb I guess your suggestion works in self motivated and/or cross functional team. I have worked in both small and large teams. I may be wrong. Based on my experience, scrum works great on large teams. It feels like, scrum methodology should be modified a bit for handling small team or in small companies to deal with small team issues. Reason being, in small teams, everybody is trying perform better, there is more comparison. Anyways, it is nice to share experiences with scrum.
    – JLP
    Sep 12, 2013 at 16:42

Everyone should be involved in the scrum process equally, if there are issues around allocating work to the right developer they should be addressed in the sprint review but it sounds more like your team isn't acting like a team and jealousy and personalities are getting in the way of professionalism.

Although s flat structure is great when it works it sometimes takes a respected individual in the team to make decisions and delegate where the team can't come to a mutual consensus.

I'd make sure the initial testing and documentation are done by the developer responsible for the story so everyone has some of the dull stuff to do, provided there's done peer review in place as well.

Try pairing up for some of the most interesting or hardest work and make sure the pair's are mixed up regularly, this spreads skills through the team and gives more people access to better stories.

  • Thanks Matt. pairing up is nice idea. I would use that to spread the skills.
    – JLP
    Sep 12, 2013 at 16:46

I think the problem is that the stories are "assigned". The team should decide who does what, and the team should be co-responsible for the success.

Should the junior developers take more senior tasks? Sometimes, yes, otherwise how will they ever grow? They need to convince the more senior devs to let them try and provide a safety net.

I suspect that once the team is empowered with the distribution of work, they will change their attitude and point of view. At the moment they seem to complain because they do not feel personally responsible.


The scrum methodology states that all developers should be treated as equal when in fact they are not. Some of them are more capable of handling complex tasks then others and this is not personal attitude but professional assessment. The key to a successful scrum team is to offer developers the freedom to pick their own stories, but still being able to delegate specific tasks to certain developers, if necessary. But this process has to be transparent and obvious to everyone to avoid jealousy and misunderstandings.

  • Thanks Pavels your suggestion. I should work on morale and motivation of the team.
    – JLP
    Sep 12, 2013 at 16:45

It's highly important the team agree as a whole on which team member is working on what. If not yo'll having people standing on each others toes and also at some point, you'll run into the type of team member who to coin a phrase, "Cherry picks" strories that are easier than the rest or simply are trying to make themselves noticed as a "Sprint Hero".

  • how does this answer the question asked?
    – gnat
    Sep 30, 2013 at 9:51

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