Sprint Planning

Business Agility Office

Sprint planning is an event in the Scrum framework where the team determines the product backlog items they will work on during that sprint and discusses their initial plan for completing those product backlog items.

Teams may find it helpful to establish a sprint goal and use that as the basis by which they determine which product backlog items they work on during that sprint.

Who is involved in Sprint Planning

Sprint planning typically involves the entire team.

A product owner identifies the candidate product backlog items and their relative priorities, as well as proposes a sprint goal.

The team members determine how many of the product backlog items they forecast they will be able to complete and determine how they will deliver those product backlog items.

A scrum master or coach typically facilitates sprint planning in order to ensure that the discussion is effective and that there is agreement to the sprint goal and that the appropriate product backlog items are included in the sprint backlog.

Where does Sprint Planning take place?

A good location for sprint planning is the team room so that you have access to all the information about your product backlog and you can reference and update any information radiators you may use.

If your team is distributed, sprint planning represents a good opportunity to gather everyone together so that your planning discussions can be more effective and to reinforce the person to person connections of the team.

When does Sprint Planning take place?

Sprint planning occurs on the first day of a new sprint.

The event should occur after the sprint review and retrospective from the previous sprint so that any output from those discussions can be considered when planning for the new sprint. It does not have to occur immediately after those other two events. You’ll find it’s best to place a higher priority on scheduling sprint planning when the entire team is available.

You may find that it’s best to have a standing consistent time for sprint planning so that your team can keep that time slot clear from other engagements.

How is Sprint Planning Structured?

Sprint planning is typically split into two parts:

Part 1 – Scope

The team selects which items from a prioritized list of ready product backlog items (usually expressed as user stories) they forecast they will be able to complete during the sprint.

Here’s a sample agenda for the first part of sprint planning:

  • What is the goal for this sprint? Use this as a decision filter to determine which product backlog items to include in the sprint.
  • What product backlog items are ready and contribute toward the sprint goal?
  • Who is available for this sprint? Identify any vacations, holidays, other activities that will impact everyone’s availability during the sprint.
  • What is the team’s capacity based on everyone’s availability
  • What items will the team include on the sprint backlog based on the sprint goal and the team’s capacity.
  • How confident does the team feel that they’ll be able to meet the sprint goal.

Part 2 – Plan

The team discusses in more detail how they will deliver the selected product backlog items. This may (but does not have to) include identifying tasks for the product backlog items, whether there are any dependencies between the items, and signing up for the initial product backlog items that each team member works on .

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