How To: Sprint Planning

Sprint Planning is an event in Scrum where the team come together to align and determine which User Stories they will work on during their Sprint.

The Product Owner will come to the event with a Sprint Goal in mind that aligns to their product vision. The team will discuss the Sprint Goal, identify User Stories and map out their initial plan for completing those stories to deliver value to our customers.

Sprint Goals are negotiable and may change with team collaboration.

Who attends Sprint Planning?

The whole team attends Sprint Planning. The Product Owner plays a vital role in Planning as they have knowledge of the product vision, our roadmap and are the voice of the customer. They are required to be at the session to answer any questions, offer guidance and prioritize the Sprint backlog once items have been refined, new stories raised or stories have been removed.

What does Sprint Planning Entail?

We usually hold planning over 2-3 hours for our 2 week Sprints and teams usually experiment to find the optimal time for their team to complete planning without it being rushed.

A 4 week Sprint can usually take up to 8 hours to plan so use this as a guide when considering your Sprint planning timebox.

Good quality refinement can lead to Planning sessions being more organised and therefore quicker so it is always good to keep this in mind.

The team come together to discuss and agree on a Sprint Goal. The team the discuss the stories needed to achieve that Sprint Goal. The team will then use metrics such as Average Velocity or Capacity to agree how much work the team can realistically bring in to the Sprint. The session ends with agreement from the team that they are happy that the work that they have forecast to complete within the is achievable and that the team are ready to Sprint.

**Tips for great Sprint Planning**

* Refinement of stories has taken place before planning

* PO comes equipped with a Sprint Goal

* PO has prioritized the backlog based on Sprint Goal

* SM polls the team for capacity ahead of planning

* Look ahead to the Sprint Review. What will the team be able to review with stakeholders at the end of the Sprint?

I have seen Sprint planning done in a few different ways. The most common way I have observed teams planning is where they come together in a 2-3 hour session to plan and get everything over and done with in one go or the method that I have used with teams below, that may help in this time of virtual meetings.

How could I make planning suitable for virtual meetings

***Ahead of meeting.***

* SM will poll the team for capacity ahead of planning.

* SM will update all stats and determine the teams average velocity.

* SM will meet with PO ahead of planning to confirm that backlog is prioritized.

* PO will review Sprint goal with SM.

* SM will review the retrospective actions to be considered for next Sprint.

***During the session.***

Sprint Planning 1 (The Scope) 1 hour long.

* Scrum Master explains the purpose of Planning

* Scrum Master will give a round up of the previous and Average Velocity.

* PO will give a run down of the Product Vision and Sprint Goal.

* PO presents a story and how it builds on our vision.

* SM will sense check with team and story added to Sprint if all happy.

* If the story needs broken down or is a new addition then the team will quickly refine.

* If there are any outstanding questions or missing requirements then the story should be parked and an action point raised to get clarity, it should not be included in the Sprint.

* The PO will collaborate with the team to prioritise the Sprint Backlog.

Sprint Planning 2 (The Plan) 1 hour long.

* The team meet to discuss the stories in detail and how they will be tested.

* The team then break their stories down into task level.

* The team sanity check the estimates given based on the effort given to the subtasks.

* Re-estimate items if needed

* Agree the scope with the PO and remove stories if the re-estimation brings above our average velocity or tolerance.

* Confidence check with team on Sprint Goal and Backlog items.

* Confidence check our team capacity (check ideal hours against committed hours)

* SM can start the Sprint

Published by The Daily Scrum

A CSP, CSM, CSPO who lives and works in Glasgow, UK.

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