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Do’s and Don’t During Agile Sprint Planning
What is Sprint Planning?
Sprint Planning is a crucial part of the Scrum framework, where the team collaborates to determine what work will be done and how it will be accomplished during the upcoming Sprint. The process revolves around three key elements.
Firstly, the Product Owner explains the value of the upcoming Sprint to the team and, together, they set a Sprint goal that effectively communicates the value to the stakeholders.
Secondly, the Scrum team, consisting of Developers and the Product Owner, reviews the Product Backlog and selects items that will be tackled in the Sprint. The team may further break down these items into smaller, more manageable pieces to increase their understanding and confidence. The Developers also estimate how much work they can realistically complete during the Sprint based on their previous experience, current capacity, and the Definition of Done.
Lastly, the Developers plan how they will complete the selected Product Backlog items during the Sprint, breaking them down into smaller workable parts. They then set a timebox for the Sprint, typically eight hours per day for a one-month Sprint or a shorter timebox for a shorter Sprint.
The combination of the Sprint goal, selected backlog items, and the plan for completion is referred to as the Sprint Backlog. Throughout Sprint Planning, the entire Scrum Team focuses on value, ensuring that the work accomplished during the Sprint will be meaningful and beneficial.
Top 5 Do’s During Sprint Planning
Sprint planning is an essential component of agile project management, and it helps the team to define the work that will be done during the upcoming sprint. Here are the top 5 things to do during a sprint planning −
Set Sprint Goals − The team should establish the sprint goals, which are specific and measurable objectives that the team will work towards during the sprint. These goals should be aligned with the product vision and should be achievable within the sprint timeframe.
Define the Sprint Backlog − The team should work together to identify the specific user stories, tasks, and features that need to be completed during the sprint to achieve the sprint goals. This backlog should be prioritized based on the product owner's guidance and estimated effort.
Estimate Effort − The team should estimate the effort required to complete each item on the sprint backlog. This will help to identify any capacity constraints or dependencies that need to be managed during the sprint.
Define Acceptance Criteria − The team should work with the product owner to define clear acceptance criteria for each item on the sprint backlog. This will help to ensure that the team is aligned on the definition of done and that the product owner's expectations are clear.
Create a Sprint Plan − Based on the sprint goals, the sprint backlog, and the estimated effort, the team should create a plan for how they will accomplish the work during the sprint. This plan should include specific tasks, assignments, and timelines and should be agreed upon by the entire team.
By completing these five activities during sprint planning, the team will be well-equipped to deliver a high-quality product increment at the end of the sprint.
Top 5 Don’ts During Sprint Planning
While there are several things that should be done during a sprint planning, there are also some things that should be avoided. Here are the top 5 "don'ts" during a sprint planning −
Don't Overcommit − It's important not to commit to more work than the team can realistically accomplish during the sprint. This can lead to unrealistic expectations, burnout, and decreased morale.
Don't Focus on Individual Tasks − Sprint planning is a team activity, and it's important to focus on the overall sprint goals rather than individual tasks. This will help to ensure that everyone is aligned on the objectives and working together towards the same end goal.
Don't Skip Prioritization − Prioritizing the sprint backlog is an important step in sprint planning, and it's important not to skip or rush this step. Prioritizing helps to ensure that the most valuable and important work is tackled first, and that the team is working towards the right goals.
Don't Ignore Dependencies − It's important to consider any dependencies or external factors that may impact the sprint during planning. Ignoring dependencies can lead to delays, conflicts, and reduced productivity.
Don't Ignore Lessons Learned − Sprint planning is an opportunity to learn from past sprints and improve processes for the future. Ignoring past lessons learned can lead to repeating mistakes and missed opportunities for improvement.
By avoiding these "don'ts" during sprint planning, the team can have a more effective and productive planning session and be better positioned for success during the upcoming sprint.
Following these do’s and don’ts while planning a sprint is essential to have a sprint that delivers visible and workable results meeting the goal of Done.
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