My team are using Scrum and we are new to this methodology. I use Essential Scrum as our guideline but I haven't finished it yet. On a chapter, it says the team should focus on idle tasks, not idle workers which I somewhat agree with it.

Anyway, it doesn't say (at least on that chapter) what to do or how to solve it. What are some good suggestion about how to tackle idle tasks?

Update Idle task in this context means a task that has been in progress for a lot longer than we expect, for example, if a task is estimated to be finish in 2 hours but it has been taking 6 hours and not sure when it will be finished.

  • 1
    Can you expand a bit what is meant by "idle tasks". Apr 29, 2014 at 8:17
  • @BartvanIngenSchenau I just updated my question to include its meaning. :)
    – Anonymous
    Apr 29, 2014 at 8:40
  • A task that is taking much longer than expected sounds like the opposite of idle. Apr 29, 2014 at 20:02

2 Answers 2


I use one of these options.
Which one to use has depended on the individual circumstances.

  • break it down further
  • move it back into the ready state if another task is currently the active one.
  • if it is blocked by another task, enter that task and then enter it as a blocker
  • accept the idling, increase work-in-progress limits and don't focus on cycle time.

Whatever you do, communicating to your team and to the appropriate level of management is required.


There are only two things you can do :

  • adjust your plan, and see how to plan better in the future
  • ask for help, although this can even prolong the delay

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