I am assigned a task that spans many sprints. Sub-tasks are created to manage progress within each sprint.
Is the parent sprint constrained to be in a sprint while any of its sub-tasks are in a sprint?
If yes, is it possible to leave some of the parent's sub-tasks in the backlog while other sub-tasks are in a sprint?
When using Scrum and Sprints you do not assign sub-tasks to a sprint. You may work on the sub-task during a sprint, but it is the Story that is assigned to the sprint. As long as the Story has incomplete sub-tasks, it will not be considered done in any of the sprints. And you don't get partial credit for the story by completing sub-tasks.
You can have sub-tasks in the backlog while other sub-tasks are being worked on or completed in other sprints. But, again, you don't get story point/velocity/burn-down credit for those sub-tasks being completed.
The idea behind scrum, sprints, and stories, is that during Sprint Planning you are breaking down the work into Stories that are sized and scoped such that they can be completed during a sprint. It is the completion of Stories during a sprint that enable you to ascertain a team's velocity so that you know how much work (story points) can be completed by the team in a sprint. You use that information to plan future sprints so that your team commits to only as much work as you can actually get done.
You should not intentionally be scoping/sizing stories to span multiple sprints.
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