Understanding Scrum Sprint Planning

We all are aware of the fact that the Scrum Framework is basically based on the concepts of Agile Software Development methodology. Unlike Waterfall, Agile is flexible, focused on Customer Collaboration, and is open for change requests and individual interactions. Scrum has a few sets of events to make it more effective.

Sprint planning is one of the most important events in the Scrum Framework, which enables the Scrum team to do planning in advance for the coming Sprint. According to the Scrum guide, a Sprint planning meeting is a time boxed working session that lasts roughly 1 hour for every week of a sprint. In sprint planning, the entire team agrees to complete a set of product backlog items within a Sprint. This agreement defines the sprint backlog and is based on the team’s velocity or capacity and the length of the sprint.

In simple words, the product owner has the vision for the product and creates a Product backlog, and in the Sprint planning meeting, the team is in consensus with the Product Owner. The Scrum Master creates a plan to work on whatever tasks in this particular sprint they are planning for, based upon the team’s velocity or capabilities.

Before the Sprint Planning meeting, the PO identifies and sorts the Product backlog items according to their priority and works towards getting them in the Ready state. Here, by "Ready", I mean that all the requirements should be clear to at least the PO so that the team should not face any challenge in the Sprint while doing the development. The PO also identifies the acceptance criteria for items he/she is planning to put in the consecutive Sprint like – for Login functionality, the acceptance criteria should be something like below.

  1. User should be able to log in to the application.
  2. Password should get saved in the DB.
  3. Reset Password/Forgot Password functionalities should be working.
  4. Password validations should be implemented.

Sprint planning should happen mostly in two parts or it should contain two objectives -

  • What? – Identifies what needs to be done for this Sprint
  • How? – Identifies how the selected items should be designed/developed, and if there are any challenges in doing so.

Sprint Planning answers the following questions.

What can be done in the Sprint ?

In the first part of Sprint planning, the PO presents the backlog items to the team with their priority and the whole Scrum team collaborates to understand the work, and decide what can be achieved in that Sprint. The number of Product Backlog items to undertake in the Sprint is solely upon the team. Along with this, Sprint is given a goal called Sprint Goal, this Spring Goal helps the team focus more on the essence of what needs to be done and less on small details which may not be important to what we really need to accomplish.

How will the chosen work get done?

In this Second part of planning, the team collaborates and decides how to produce the next product increment that meets the acceptance criteria. The team does design and planning to be confident of completing the Sprint goal during the sprint. Rge PO should also be there, to answer the question and resolve misunderstandings, if any, for this part.

The following are some key points to remember,

  • Who - Development Team, Scrum Master and Product Owner.
  • When – at the beginning of the Sprint
  • Time-Box – Max 4 hours for 2 weeks Sprint
  • Input – Product Backlog, latest product increment, Team Capacity, Team’s past performance, acceptance criteria.
  • Output – Sprint Backlog, Sprint Goal, Team’s Shared understanding of work that would be undertaken during the Sprint.

To summarize the above, Sprint Planning plays a major role in doing the planning for the Sprint, and deciding what will be done and how to accomplish that goal. The ownership of this is for the Development Team.

Happy Learning!!