The Sprint Planning Meeting | David Tzemach

The sprint planning meeting is one of the most critical meetings in the Scrum framework. It allows the Scrum team to plan the work for the next Sprint. The plan is created by the whole Scrum team, including the Product Owner, Scrum Master and the Scrum development team.

Like all other activities in the Scrum framework, the Sprint planning meeting is time-boxed to two hours, multiplied by the number of weeks of your sprint (range of 2-8 hours). During the sprint planning meeting, the Product Owner provides a quick overview of the highest prioritized backlog items. The team can ask questions they have to start breaking down stories to tasks and estimating the work required to complete them.

Sprint Planning Meeting Agenda

There is no single correct way to perform this meeting. Every company, even every team, can do it differently. This is fine as long as the meeting achieves its goals. Below is an example of such a meeting:

Sprint planning meeting: 14:00 – 16:00

14:00 – 14:30 – The PO presents the Sprint’s goal. He also goes through the product backlog and reviews the top priority stories candidates for the sprint.

14:30 – 15:15 – Assuming the team has all the information required, they begin to estimate and break down the Stories into tasks.

15:15 – 15:30 – The team uses their estimated velocity to determine which stories will be included as part of the next sprint.

15:30 – 16:00 – The team and the PO review the sprint backlog and approve the sprint’s goal.

Who Decides Which Stories Are Included in the Sprint?

This is one of those questions always asked by teams that are relatively new to Scrum. You can guess that in a world that promotes self-organization, we should give our teams the power to decide their commitment and take responsibility to deliver it. This rule is applicable as long as it is based on the prioritization of the Product Backlog set by the PO.

What Happens During Sprint Planning?

At the end of the planning session and before starting the Sprint, the team must ensure they have achieved the following goals:

A clear definition of the sprint goal

The first and most crucial step in the preparation process is to define the sprint goal. This determines the results desired at the end of the sprint. Setting a sprint goal also helps the team understand their expectations. It increases their focus on the work needed to achieve the desired outcome.

The Product Owner determines the sprint goal. However, based on my experience, I highly recommend that the Product Owner works with the team to formulate the goal. By doing this, he gains the following:

  • Team participation in formulating the sprint goal ensures clarity.

  • Involving the team helps them set goals that leave some room to maneuver within the sprint.

  • The team will likely be more collaborative because they work towards a common goal.

  • The team helps the PO set realistic goals based on their experience in the technical domain.

Determination of sprint capacity

The team’s capacity is determined by the number of days and hours each team member can contribute to the sprint load.

Determination of Strategy

The team discusses the strategy for the upcoming Sprint based on the scale and complexity of the committed stories. The strategy should include different areas (research, coding, testing, etc.) needed to accomplish the sprint goals.

Estimation of the workload

The team reviews each story and identifies the tasks required to complete it. The team can now determine their total estimations to complete the story based on that.

Determination of the sprint backlog

At the end of this meeting, the team approves the stories that will be part of the sprint backlog for the upcoming sprint.

Description of the stories

The PO will ensure a clear definition of each user story is complete through acceptance criteria and the DoD.

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