How to conduct Effective Sprint Planning?

Conducting effective sprint planning

Planning, no matter what the occasion, happens almost everyday.
Planning is an activity which describes the activities , resources, timelines needed to deliver the output in the question.

 

In the scrum framework the timeline & resources ( Human Resources ) are fixed. The duration of an iteration or sprint is timeboxed. The capacity of the Scrum team is also fixed. Based on these two parameters the scope/ user stories are defined by the product owner. As a basic principle planning is always done up to a level of detail where scrum teams can confirm that there is clear understanding of the user stories which they commit to deliver.

 

In our experience teams struggle during Sprint planning even after many sprints of experience. One shouldn’t be worried that Planning is long drawn and teams tend to over or under commit. Every sprint is an experience and learning’s have to to be incorporated from the past sprint plannings to get better

 

In this blog we captured a set of pointers for a better planning experience.

 

Let’s begin with pre-requisites:

  1. Sprint backlog ordered and prioritized by the product owner
  2. Team has gained understanding of the user stories planned for the sprint from the product owner
  3. User stories estimated by the dev team ( Developers and QA)
  4. Identify the capacity of the Dev team
  5. Consider the Dev teams planned leave and public holidays for that sprint duration.
  6. All the user stories added to the Sprint backlog in the relevant ALM tool ( eg: Jira or Rally)

Below are next steps or activities to be conducted, with an understanding that prerequisites have been met, for effective sprint planning :

  1. Seek clarity and close the gaps in understanding of the user stories from the product owner and tech-leads- (By Dev Team)
  2. Re estimate or estimate the user stories wherever needed ( By Dev Team)
  3. Identify sub tasks on how to implement the work items ( By Dev team)
  4. Wherever relevant add tasks to reduce uncertainties and bring in more clarity on requirements ( By Dev Team)
  5. Assign the work items / user stories to yourself based on capacity and capability ( By Dev team)
  6. Exhibit confidence on the work items / user stories committed ( Dev team)
  7. Add Sprint goals to the sprint ( Product Owner)
  8. Commit the user stories in story points based on average velocity of the team
  9. Start the sprint

All the above activities have to be facilitated by the Scrum master.


Hope you found this blog informative!


We would love to hear your feedback on the above best practices. Please reach out to us at “[email protected]” for any support in your agile transformation journey.


Sudha Madhuri
Benzne Agile Consultant 

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