As part of an Agile assessment, I sat in on a sprint planning meeting. Though many out there are having sprint planning meetings at the beginning of every sprint, are they getting the most out of the time and effort? As part of the services to my client, I will be providing a free cheat sheet for sprint planning. It is both a guide and an agenda, to help keep them focused. If you want a copy, just click the link at the bottom of the post.
What is Sprint Planning?
The purpose of the sprint planning meeting is for the team to agree to complete a set of the top-ordered product backlog items. This agreement defines the sprint backlog and is based on the team’s velocity or capacity and the length of the sprint timebox.
Who Does It?
Sprint planning is a collaborative effort involving:
- ScrumMaster – facilitating the meeting
- Product Owner – clarifying the details of the product backlog items and their acceptance criteria
- Agile Team – defining the work and effort necessary to fulfill the forecasted completion of product backlog items
Before You Begin
Before getting started we need to ensure
- The items in the product backlog have been sized by the team and assigned a relative story point value
- The product backlog is top-ordered to reflect the greatest needs of the Product Owner
- There is a general understanding of the acceptance criteria for these top-ordered backlog item
The product backlog can address both new functionality and fixes to existing functionality. For the purpose of sprint planning, product backlog items must be small enough to be completed during the sprint and can be verified that they were implemented correctly.
Right Sizing Backlog Items
Product backlog items too large to be completed in a sprint must be split into smaller pieces. The best way to split product backlog items is by value not by process.
Plan Based on Capacity
Mature teams may use a combination of team availability and velocity to forecast what product backlog items can be finished during the sprint. New teams may not know their velocity or it may not be stable enough to use as a basis for sprint planning. In those cases, new teams may need to make forecasts based solely on the team’s capacity.
The capacity of a team is derived from three simple measures for each team member:
- Number of ideal hours in the work day
- Days in the sprint that the person will be available
- Percentage of time the person will dedicate to this team
The Planning Steps
- The Product Owner describes the highest ordered product backlog item(s)
- The team determines and prioritizes what is necessary to complete that product backlog item(s)
- Team members volunteer to own the work
- Work owners estimate the ideal hours they need to finish their work
- Planning continues while the team does not exceed determined capacity
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