CleanUp Story

[kleen-uhp stawr-ee, stohr-ee]

Definition of CleanUp Story

A Story that apologizes to the Code Base about something bad that happened, and promises to fix it. It usually documents what is wrong and indicates what needs to be accomplished to fix it. A Cleanup Story is a story that tells us where the mess is and what we have to do to clean it up.
Technical Debt is so important that we must manage it directly – its management won’t happen by accident or as a byproduct of development. Since Technical Debt can’t be seen except by looking at the code, its presence must be made visible to the outside somehow. To make it visible, we use the Cleanup Story. A Cleanup Story is a story that tells us where the mess is and what we have to do to clean it up.

Examples

Let's say that the Team hacked in some code by not unit testing and doing some fairly bad design – so that it needs re-factoring. Then what the Team should do is add a CleanUp Story to the Backlog called ‘Fix up module 123’ that would explain what unit testing needs to be done and what code needs to be re-factored.
Normally, when a Team Member finds Technical Debt, it gets skipped over because there isn’t time to fix it. But the Team Member must do something – not ignore it – and that something is to either fix it (which the Team Member probably doesn’t have time for) or create a Cleanup Story.
Cleanup Stories make it visible on the Backlog what has to be done to bring the code quality back to where it should be. The Cleanup Story always belongs on the Back Burner, so that it’s always right in front of the Team and the Stakeholders when discussing prioritization and Sprint Planning, which forces them to either do something about it or ignore it on purpose.

Cite This Term

"CleanUp Story." ScrumDictionary.com. Accessed Dec 14, 2018.
https://scrumdictionary.com/term/cleanup-story/.