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How To Run A First Sprint Planning Meeting

Conduct a first sprint planning meeting by setting clear objectives, assigning tasks, discussing timeline, and ensuring everyone understands their roles and responsibilities.

A First Sprint Planning Meeting, often conducted in Agile or Scrum project management methodologies, is an initial gathering of the Scrum team where they define the work and logistics for their first sprint. In this meeting, the product owner presents the team with the product backlog items or user stories, and the team proceeds to define the scope of work for the upcoming sprint cycle, creating a sprint backlog. They discuss and decide on their commitments, timelines, and goals for this first sprint, fostering a mutual understanding of the tasks at hand. The meeting is a proactive and strategic session aimed at promoting efficiency, collaboration, and clarity among team members.

What is the purpose of a First Sprint Planning Meeting?

The purpose of running a first sprint planning meeting as a leader is to establish clear goals and priorities for the upcoming sprint. It is an opportunity to gather the team, define the scope of work, determine the tasks required, assign responsibilities, and create a shared understanding of the project’s objectives. Effective sprint planning sets the stage for successful execution and collaboration.

How To Run A First Sprint Planning Meeting: Step-By-Step


Step 1: Set the Meeting

The Scrum Master typically leads the Sprint Planning meeting, encompassing the entire Scrum Team, which includes the Product Owner, Scrum Master and Development Team. To optimize efficiency, it’s crucial to schedule the gathering in a conducive setting with all essential tools like project backlog, sprint backlog templates, and other relevant documents meticulously prepared. A well-organized meeting can greatly assist in defining goals, determining scope, and developing strategic plans for the upcoming sprint.

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Step 2: Review Project Backlog

The Product Owner initiates the meeting by showcasing the product backlog items such as features, functionalities, requirements, enhancements, and fixes to the Development Team. This is a vital step, facilitating a discussion regarding the precise definition of ‘done’ for each item and providing a forum to resolve any potential ambiguities. This ensures each team member understands their role and can work effectively.

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Step 3: Define Sprint Goal

The Product Owner and the Development Team collaborate to establish a sprint goal: a primary target for the approaching sprint. This goal, generally a succinct and straightforward statement, outlines the team’s ambition and serves as a collective focus for their efforts during the sprint period.


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Step 4: Estimate Effort

The Development Team allocates its resources by estimating the effort required for each product backlog item. Employing their chosen estimation technique, be it story points, t-shirt sizes, or another method, the team gauges each item’s complexity and predicts the time needed for completion. This critical task allows for efficient workflow management and helps prioritize work based on its complexity and the team’s capacity to deliver.

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Step 5: Select Items for Sprint Backlog

In light of the Sprint goal and the effort estimate, the Development Team meticulously selects items from the product backlog to include in the sprint backlog. Members of the team collectively commit to delivering these chosen items, maximising efficiency for the upcoming sprint. This commitment signifies their dedication towards ensuring project progress and quality.

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Step 6: Draft Sprint Plan

The Development Team, backed by the Product Owner, drafts a comprehensive sprint plan. It is a strategic roadmap detailing the steps they will take to attain the Sprint Goal and deliver the chosen backlog items. This plan provides a clear direction, fosters team collaboration, and facilitates efficiency, ensuring all tasks align well with the overarching organizational objectives.

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Step 7: Review and Finalize Plan

The Scrum Master plays a crucial role in coordinating a comprehensive review of the drafted plan with the team. This review meeting serves not only as a platform for all team members to clarify their uncertainties and ask questions, but it also allows them to propose potential improvements, additions, or changes. Ultimately, this collaborative endeavor leads to the official finalization of the plan, ensuring it reflects a collective commitment that aligns all team members on the roadmap to success.

Questions to ask as the leader of the meeting

1. What is the goal or objective of this sprint?
– This question helps to clarify the specific outcome or deliverable that the team should focus on during the sprint.

2. What are the priorities for this sprint?
– This question helps the leader understand the key tasks or features that need to be addressed first, ensuring a clear direction for the team.

3. What are the dependencies or constraints for this sprint?
– This question helps identify any external factors or limitations that might affect the team’s ability to complete certain tasks within the sprint.

4. How will we measure the success or progress of this sprint?
– This question ensures that the team has a clear understanding of the metrics or criteria that will be used to determine if the sprint was successful.

5. Are there any potential risks or obstacles that might impact the sprint’s timeline or outcomes?
– This question prompts the team to consider and address any potential challenges early on, allowing them to plan and mitigate risks effectively.

6. What resources or support do we need to successfully complete this sprint?
– This question helps identify any additional resources or assistance needed to ensure the team has everything necessary to accomplish the sprint’s goals.

7. What is the timeline for this sprint?
– This question establishes the specific timeframe for the sprint, enabling the team to plan their work accordingly and set realistic expectations.

8. Do team members have a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities for this sprint?
– This question ensures that everyone in the team understands their individual tasks and responsibilities, fostering alignment and accountability.

9. How will we communicate and collaborate within the team during this sprint?
– This question prompts the team to discuss and establish effective communication channels and collaboration methods, enhancing efficiency and coordination.

10. Is there any other pertinent information or concerns that should be addressed for this sprint?
– This open-ended question allows team members to raise any additional matters that should be considered or discussed, ensuring a comprehensive planning process.

As a leader, preparing a first sprint planning meeting agenda is crucial to ensure a smooth and productive session. Start by defining the meeting’s objective, then outline the topics to be discussed, such as reviewing the product backlog, selecting user stories, and estimating effort. Also, allocate time for team discussions and decision-making. Lastly, include an overview of the meeting structure and expected outcomes to keep everyone focused and on track.

How To Prepare For A First Sprint Planning Meeting
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During the first sprint planning meeting, important topics that should be discussed include defining the project’s goals and objectives, determining the scope of work for the upcoming sprint, selecting the user stories or tasks to be completed, estimating the effort required for each task, and assigning responsibilities to team members. It is also essential to discuss any potential risks or constraints that may impact the sprint’s success.

See Our First Sprint Planning Meeting Template
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Software tools to facilitate a First Sprint Planning Meeting

Software greatly assists leaders in running their first sprint planning meetings. It streamlines the process by providing templates and prompts for setting goals, allocating tasks, and estimating efforts. Additionally, it centralizes all the relevant information and ensures everyone is on the same page, simplifying communication and collaboration among team members.

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Running a successful first Sprint Planning Meeting can significantly contribute to the execution and overall success of your project. It fosters communication, collaboration, and allows for early risk identification, thereby increasing team efficiency. Remember, creating a well-defined goal, understanding the product backlog, splitting the tasks wisely, and adopting the right tools and techniques are the keys to a successful sprint planning meeting. Establishing a solid foundation in your initial planning meeting sets a positive tone for the entirety of the project sprint. Always make sure the team leaves the meeting with a clear understanding of the sprint objectives and their corresponding roles and responsibilities. Availing yourself of these best practices will ensure your team hits the ground running and ultimately, delivers a successful project.

Popular Questions

What is the primary objective of the first sprint planning meeting?

The main goal is to establish a working agreement of what the development team plans to accomplish during the upcoming sprint. It includes determining which items in the product backlog will be delivered and how the work needed to deliver the increment will be achieved.

How long is a usual first sprint planning meeting?

This heavily depends on the length of the sprint, but as a general rule, the sprint planning meeting should last no longer than two hours for every week of the sprint. For a two -week sprint, for example, sprint planning would last no more than four hours.

Who should be present during the first sprint planning meeting?

The Product Owner, Scrum Master, and the entire development team should all be in attendance during the sprint planning meeting. The Product Owner explains the objectives and the development team ensures the work commitment is feasible for the sprint.

What role does the Product Owner play during this meeting?

The Product Owner comes prepared with a prioritized list of product backlog items (also known as user stories) to be considered for the upcoming sprint. They explain the objectives and the requirements of each item to facilitate the team’s understanding and estimation of the tasks.

What important agreement is typically made during the first sprint planning meeting?

The most important agreement made during the first sprint planning meeting is the sprint goal – a short description of what the team plans to achieve during the sprint. It provides guidance to the development team on why it is building the increment.