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What is Sprint Planning?

Scrum is a framework that can be used to develop and sustain complex products and services, and can be applied in any industry including software, hardware, manufacturing, construction, banking etc.

Sprint Planning is one of the events in the Scrum framework where the Development Team forecasts the Product Backlog items (commonly referred to as User Stories or simply Stories) they will work on during that Sprint; and create an initial plan for completing those Product Backlog items. The Product Owner explains the prioritized Product Backlog items to the Development Team. The Development Team determines what items can be developed, and makes a plan on how to convert those items into an Increment. It is advisable to hold a Product Backlog refinement session (or more) before your Sprint Planning.

Timebox

Scrum uses timeboxing for all the Scrum events so that increases the team’s focus and hence the efficiency. Sprint Planning’s timebox is up to 8 hours for a one-month Sprint. For shorter Sprints, this is shorter.

A successful Sprint Planning must yield below 2 results:

  1. The Sprint Goal: A short written summary of what the team plans to accomplish.
  2. The Sprint Backlog: The list of Stories the Development Team has forecasted to complete in the Sprint.

The Sprint Goal is a collaborative goal agreed by the Scrum Team for the Sprint that can be met through the implementation of Product Backlog items. Sprint goals are the result of a negotiation between the Product Owner and the Development Team. I suggest a Sprint Goal should be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-based).

The Sprint Backlog consists of the Stories selected by the Development Team and a detailed plan created by the Development Team. During the Sprint Planning meeting, the team selects an appropriate number of Product Backlog items and identifies a plan necessary to complete each User Story. There is no specific format for the plan suggested by Scrum. The plan can be in the form of detailed tasks, activities, effort estimates etc.

Who participates in Sprint Planning?

  • Development Team
  • Scrum Master
  • Product Owner
  • Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) if required

What is the role of the ScrumMaster in Sprint Planning?

The major responsibilities of ScrumMaster in Sprint Planning are:

  • Ensures that Sprint Planning takes place.
  • Timebox the event
  • Ensures that others understand the purpose of the Sprint Planning.
  • Facilitates the Sprint Planning in order to ensure the following:
    • The discussion is effective and decisions are made.
    • The Sprint Goal is collaboratively created by the Scrum Team.
    • The Sprint Backlog is created by the Development Team.

References:

  • Scrum Guide from www.ScrumGuides.org

About the Author:

Shubha is a Scrum enthusiast, working with top consulting and services organizations in Bangalore, India. Currently been part of Agile transformation initiatives of global organizations. She completed Master of Science degree in Computer Sciences with Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS), Pilani. She also completed Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) from Scrum Alliance, in a workshop conducted by Suresh Konduru during Feb 15-16 2020 in Bangalore.

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