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How To Run A Scrum Sprint Planning Meeting

A Scrum Sprint Planning Meeting should be run efficiently with clearly defined objectives, with all team members understanding their roles and responsibilities, and being provided with a detailed plan and timeline for the upcoming sprint.

A Scrum Sprint Planning Meeting is a collaborative event in Agile project management where the Scrum team comes together to establish a concrete plan of action for the next sprint. During this meeting, the team identifies the work to be done, discusses and analyzes tasks from the product backlog, and agrees on a set of deliverables for the upcoming sprint. The aim is to set clear expectations and create a mutual understanding among team members about how the goals of the next sprint will be achieved. This meeting is facilitated by the Scrum Master but is driven by the product owner who communicates the objectives and priorities, with the overarching aim of producing increments of potentially shippable functionality.

What is the purpose of a Scrum Sprint Planning Meeting?

The purpose of running a Scrum sprint planning meeting as a leader is to facilitate effective communication and collaboration among team members. By clearly defining the goals and scope of the sprint, setting priorities, and allocating resources, the leader ensures that everyone is aligned and on track to deliver high-quality work within the designated timeframe.

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

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Step 1: Sprint Goal Determination

In the primary stage, the team, under the guidance of the product owner, congregates to establish objectives for the impending sprint. This entails an exchange of ideas on potential features, enhancements, or bug resolutions that the team should focus on accomplishing during the upcoming sprint, thereby strategizing the best approach to improve the product’s effectiveness and efficiency.

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Step 2: Team Capacity Assessment

After defining the goals, a team examines their ability for the sprint ahead. This involves looking at obligations besides the project, assessing the resources available, and analysing individual skills. Doing so allows them to gauge realistically the volume of work that can be achieved in the given timeline.

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Step 3: Story or Backlog Item Selection

The product owner, bearing in mind the sprint goal and team capacity, initiates proposals for user stories, features, or backlog items to fulfil the sprint goal. Every story’s value, level of complexity, and estimated completion time are evaluated. This is a critical step to effectively align tasks with team strengths and resources, enhancing productivity and ensuring the successful completion of the sprint goal within the designated timeframe.

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Step 4: Story Discussion and Understanding

In each meeting, the team diligently discusses every proposed backlog item, reassuring mutual understanding of the delivery expectations. This elimination of any ambiguity or confusion about the requirements often involves dissecting larger, complex items into more manageable, easily executable tasks to streamline the workflow and optimize productivity.

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Step 5: Task and User Story Estimation

Once the team comprehends the proposed tasks, they unite to estimate the effort of each task using methods like Planning Poker or T-shirt estimation. These estimated figures then assist the team in determining the number of tasks they can confidently undertake for the sprint cycle, providing a transparent workload expectation and promoting an efficient workflow.

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Step 6: Sprint Backlog Creation

Based on our projected capacity and efficiency, the team commits to a pre-selected assortment of tasks, forging the so-called ‘sprint backlog.’ This backlog consists of all tasks that the team earnestly promises to complete in the imminent sprint, carefully chosen to align with our goals and priorities whilst ensuring effective work distribution.

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Step 7: Sprint Planning Wrap Up

Upon wrapping up the sprint planning meeting, the team scrutinizes the sprint backlog to reinforce understanding of assigned tasks. Role clarity is crucial. The scrum master, acting as a facilitator, ensures the efficiency of the meeting, and confirms that the sprint goal resonates with the chosen tasks. Their role solidfies the team’s path to success.

Questions to ask as the leader of the meeting

1. What are the goals and objectives for this sprint? – This question helps to establish a clear focus and direction for the team during the sprint planning meeting.

2. What user stories or features will be included in this sprint? – This question helps the team to identify and prioritize the tasks or deliverables to be worked on during the sprint.

3. Do we have all the necessary resources needed to accomplish the planned tasks? – This question helps identify any potential resource constraints or dependencies that may impact the sprint.

4. Are the user stories or tasks well-defined and achievable within the sprint timeframe? – This question ensures that the team has a clear understanding of what needs to be done and if it is realistic to accomplish within the sprint timeline.

5. Are there any risks or potential roadblocks that we should be aware of? – This question encourages the team to proactively identify any potential issues or challenges that may impact the sprint’s success.

6. How will we track progress and measure success during this sprint? – This question helps to establish the metrics and key performance indicators that will be used to monitor the team’s progress and evaluate the sprint’s outcome.

7. Are there any team members with specific skills or expertise needed for certain tasks? – This question helps to identify any skill gaps within the team and ensure that the right people are assigned to the appropriate tasks.

8. Is there anything else we need to consider or discuss before finalizing the sprint plan? – This question allows for any additional inputs or concerns to be raised before finalizing the sprint plan, ensuring that all necessary factors are taken into account.

As a leader, preparing a scrum sprint planning meeting agenda requires careful thought and organization. Start by identifying the goals and objectives for the upcoming Sprint, and define the user stories and tasks that need to be addressed. Allocate time for team discussions, estimation, and goal setting. Prioritize key deliverables and create a clear timeline. Share the agenda with the team in advance to ensure everyone is on the same page and ready to contribute.

How To Prepare For A Scrum Sprint Planning Meeting
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During a scrum sprint planning meeting, it is important to discuss various topics. These may include reviewing the product backlog, identifying and prioritizing user stories, estimating the effort required for each task, and determining the sprint goal. The team should also discuss any potential roadblocks or dependencies, ensuring they have a clear understanding of the tasks ahead and a shared vision for the sprint.

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

Software tools streamline scrum sprint planning meetings by providing a centralized platform for leaders to manage and allocate tasks, track progress, and communicate with team members. These tools automate time-consuming tasks like scheduling, facilitating collaboration, and generating reports, allowing leaders to focus on guiding the team and maximizing productivity. With software, leaders can effectively plan and coordinate agile projects, ensuring efficient sprint planning meetings and successful project execution.

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Conclusion

Mastering the art of a scrum sprint planning meeting is at the core of a team’s success in Agile projects. It is more than just a meeting. It’s a collaborative effort that requires clear communication, defined objectives, and established roles. Remember, the main aim of these meetings is to generate a well-composed, clear Sprint backlog that will guide the team’s work throughout the Sprint. While it is essential to stay on track with the proposed topics, it’s equally important to maintain flexibility for unforeseen issues or ideas. As you refine these skills, you will not only have smoother and more productive sprint planning meetings, but you’ll also enhance your team’s performance, boost morale, and improve overall project outcomes. Consequently, practicing an efficient Scrum Sprint Planning process is pivotal to create a pathway towards successful Agile project management.

Jannik Lindner

I'm Jannik and I write on MeetingFever about the experiences from my career as a founder and team lead.

If you have any questions, please contact me via LinkedIn.

Popular Questions

What is the purpose of a Scrum Sprint Planning Meeting?

The purpose of a Scrum Sprint Planning Meeting is to outline the work that needs to be achieved in the coming sprint. During this meeting, the Scrum Team and stakeholders agree upon what will be delivered and determine the way the team will work to achieve it.

Who must attend a Scrum Sprint Planning Meeting?

The Scrum Master, the Product Owner and the Development Team should attend a Scrum Sprint Planning Meeting. These are the primary roles involved in decision-making in regards to what the team will work on next.

How long should a Scrum Sprint Planning Meeting last?

The duration of a Scrum Sprint Planning Meeting can vary depending on the length of the sprint. However, it is typically recommended that the meeting lasts for no more than 2 hours for every week of sprint duration.

What are the key outcomes of a Scrum Sprint Planning Meeting?

The key outcomes of a Scrum Sprint Planning Meeting include a finalised Sprint Goal, a committed Sprint Backlog, and a clear understanding of what is expected by the end of the sprint.

How is the Sprint Backlog determined in a Sprint Planning Meeting?

The Sprint Backlog is determined by the Development Team based on the product backlog items presented by the Product Owner and considering the team’s past performance and capacity for the upcoming sprint. The items are chosen based upon the priority set by the Product Owner.

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