What Is Sprint Planning?

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sprint planning

What Is Sprint Planning?

Sprint Planning Definition

“Sprint planning is a meeting in the agile scrum framework. Teams discuss the product backlog. The goal and plan for the product development team are set for the upcoming sprint. Sprint goal and sprint backlog are results of sprint planning.”

Sprint planning is essential to start any sprint in the scrum. It helps determine what objectives need to be accomplished and how they can be done. The main intention is to prioritize tasks and backlogs that you should deliver in the upcoming sprint

Sprint planning is a collaborative effort on the part of the scrum master, product owner, product managers, and development team. It is often time-bound where all the participants consensually attend it. 

The duration of the sprint decides how long the sprint planning is going to last. Ideally, there should be two-hour-long planning for a one-week sprint. 

Thus, there should be a proportionate increase in the number of hours dedicated to sprint planning by the time allotted to the sprint. 

In the sprint planning session, the product owner briefly discusses the team’s goals, what features need to be added, and what aspects of the existing products need to be upgraded. Finally, the highest priority task is mentioned so that every team member can make a mindmap of how to make it work. 

Sprint Planning

Why Is Sprint Planning Useful? 

Following are the benefits of sprint planning:

  • It is used to discuss the upcoming sprint and set priorities. 
  • The technical aspect of development is considered parallel to the time allotted, and it is made sure that you can feasibly accomplish the task within the given time. 
  • The detailed task planning is broken down to the tasks for each individual and how you will test them.
  • The prioritized product tasks are allotted to each development team. 
  • An estimate of every task is calculated using techniques such as planning poker to gauge the speed and progress of the development. 

What Are the Sprint Planning Examples?

Let’s suppose a company decides to build HR products and sell them through a platform. The entire process took a year to complete. 

The teams had sprint planning meetings every two weeks. The teams set some rules, such as the web page must work on chrome, firefox, and other versions, previewing the code of an item and verifying it later, etc. 

They applied a story map to know the timeline of the work. The first sprint looks somewhat like this:

  • Focusing on building a webshop where multiple buyers can purchase products.
  • Providing updated versions of the products to the customers
  • Building a webshop where customers can place orders for products and make the payment

These and the other strategies planned out for the first sprint helped the team develop the sprint goal. The product backlog was constantly updated as and when required to get to the plan. Later on, they conducted sprint planning review meetings. They achieved the following goals:

  • Customers found the interface very simple and easy to use and understand
  • With a single sign-in, customers could buy multiple products
  • Customers could switch and translate languages
  • Sales team members found it simple to manage the product catalogs

What Are the Outcomes of Sprint Planning?

An hour-long sprint planning will give two outcomes. They are:

  • Sprint goal
  • Sprint backlog

Let’s discuss each of them. 

Sprint Goal

A sprint goal is a short description of a maximum of two sentences. It includes the goals teams have planned to achieve in the sprint. The team and product owner write the sprint goal collaboratively. 

An example of a sprint goal on a website that focuses on selling clothes could be:

  • Implementing add a cart option, which also includes adding, deleting, and updating quantities of clothes. 
  • Improving the checkout model. This will include paying online, gift wrapping options, shipping, etc.

You can use sprint goals to let the stakeholders know about the sprint planning without too many details. 

In the sprint review meeting, you will match the sprint’s success with the sprint goals to see what you can achieve. 

Sprint Backlog

Another outcome of sprint planning is the sprint backlog. In the sprint backlog, all the product backlog items are mentioned. 

In addition, the tasks necessary to complete the product backlog items are also included in the sprint backlog. The tasks on the sprint backlog are estimated. 

The teams decide the number of tasks they can complete in a sprint. 

What Are the Benefits of Sprint Planning? 

Good sprint planning makes an effective and productive team where everyone is on the same page and knows what is to be accomplished in the following sprint and by whom. 

Following are the benefits of Sprint Planning:

Effective Communication

Sprint planning allows the team to understand how they are interdependent. 

Moreover, team communication is facilitated by identifying dependencies, planning their tasks, and achieving goals. 

Prioritization

Sprint planning enables the team to prioritize the most substantial backlogs and break them down into smaller goals for convenience. 

As a result, the most crucial tasks can be completed faster. 

Burnout Prevention

Every team member can choose the work for the upcoming sprint suiting their capacity, efficiency, and time. 

This way, the product managers and owners cannot force unnecessary pressure down on the development team and you can avoid the stress. This also provides a realistic picture of the work pace. 

What Are the Drawbacks of Sprint Planning? 

Like every coin has two sides, sprint planning also has its drawbacks. They are as follows: 

Bad Estimations 

The team members decide on how much workload they want to take in a particular sprint. However, such flexibility also makes room for procrastination. The target goal may remain unaccomplished in the sprint. 

Lack of Understanding

Operating with the sprints and the planning requires a good knowledge of the scrum network. 

Without the scrum master and the product owner, there is a lack of clarity and vision. This can lead to the doom of the entire development, causing delays and other unexpected issues. Therefore, it’s crucial to have certified scrum members. 

What Are the Sprint Planning Best Practices?

Following are four points you need to keep in mind before setting up a sprint planning meeting.

Review Your Project Roadmaps:

Before the sprint planning, go through the roadmap and see that the roadmap is updated, epics and versions are appropriately mentioned, and visible to everyone in the team. 

Have a Pre-meeting Before the Sprint Planning Meeting:

Sprint planning will focus on backlog grooming and planning for the sprint. You can conduct a meeting with just product owners and scrum masters. The pre-meeting is not compulsory for development team members. It shows a few days brief the sprint planning meeting takes place.

In this pre-meeting, teams see whether the backlog is healthy-looking, items are filled with information.  

Always Backup With Data During the Sprint Planning:

Sprint meetings must go on for at least one hour and must have a structure. The scrum master speaks on behalf of the teams, then the product owner will provide updates on the product so that everyone is aware of where the product is heading. 

After that, the product owner will use the velocity and plan the sprint forecast. The product owner must also keep in mind public holidays, vacations, stories in the backlog, goals, etc. 

A new team will not have an average velocity. In such a case, everyone in the tea,s will have a say in determining the timelines. 

Next, describe each story and how you plan to achieve the tasks. Back your tasks and decisions with data and get going. 

Get Approval From Everyone and Sprint!

In the sprint planning, everyone must have approved the sprint forecast. Have a detailed discussion about what the goal is and what needs to be achieved by the end of the sprint. 

Cross-check the team members’ takes and see that everyone has different tasks and tasks are not repeated. 

Have a polite discussion with teams from time to time because with each sprint. There is bound to be communication or other issues. 

Do's and Don'ts of Sprint Planning

FAQs

Who is responsible for sprint planning?

Sprint planning is open to all members of the team. But the key coordinators who are responsible for conducting the sprint planning meeting are:

  • Scrum Master (leader and coordinator)
  • Product manager
  • Product owner
  • Development team
What is the ideal amount of time for sprint planning?

 Ideally, there should be two-hour-long planning for a one-week sprint. Thus, this is the required proportion, which can increase by the number of hours dedicated to the sprint planning and the time allotted.

What are the disadvantages of sprint planning?

Firstly, sprint planning cannot be done with half knowledge and requires a wholesome understanding of the scrum methodology. 

Secondly, the flexibility given to each member to choose the workload for their upcoming sprint can backfire and make room for procrastination.

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