Event: Sprint Planning

The Sprint Planning initiates the Sprint by laying out the work to be performed for the Sprint. - Scrum Guide

Sprint Planning is the first event that takes place within the Sprint. This event’s dynamic is that of a workshop where the entire Scrum Team gets to work together.

The maximum duration of Sprint Planning is eight hours for a four-week Sprint. Sprint Planning should be reduced for shorter Sprints.

Three items are decided during Sprint Planning:

  • The Sprint Goal, that is, why do this Sprint
  • The PBIs that will be part of this Sprint that is, what Increment to build
  • The Sprint plan, that is, how the Increment will be built

All of these items will form the Sprint Backlog.

Definition of the Sprint Goal

The Sprint Goal describes why the work to be performed during the Sprint is worth doing. This objective emerges collaboratively and is created by the Scrum Team using the Product Owner’s input, who exposes the rest a proposal for an Increment of value and usability of the product. For example, "give users the possibility to order online" or "validate if the integration of log-in with social networks reduces friction and increases conversion" or "present the Keynotes of the conference and open participant records.”

Sprint PBIs Selection

The PBIs of the Product Backlog that will be part of the current Sprint are chosen through a conversation between the Product Owner and Developers.

This decision is based on the Sprint Goal, the order of the PBIs in the Product Backlog, and a forecast of how much work Developers could do to transform PBIs into Increments. This forecast is based on past Sprint experiences. Developers ultimately determine the amount of work to be done.

During this conversation, the Developers ask all the questions they consider necessary to know the details of each of the PBIs and thus corroborate or adjust their assumptions.

Even assuming that the PBIs have already been inspected in detail during previous refinements, due to the principle of the Agile Manifesto for Software Development that determines that a competitive advantage consists of “accepting the changes even in advanced stages of the project,” it is possible that PBIs that had not been refined previously appear during this meeting. This situation often occurs with PBIs that emerge or where PBIs change in priority due to the feedback received in the previous Sprint. Faced with this situation, the Scrum Team refines the PBIs on the spot.

The Product Owner and the developer are the protagonists in making this decision. The Scrum Master, while facilitating the meeting, should also ensure that any stakeholder who is required to break down the PBIs into details is present or contacted.

Sprint Plan Preparation

The Developers determine how they will carry out the work. This implies the initial definition of a high-quality design, which will be refined during the Sprint itself, and the identification of the activities to be carried out together.

The design is expected to be emergent, arising out of Developers’ need as they further their understanding of the business and product definition. Thus, it is advisable not to make a complete and finished design of what will be done during the Sprint. Instead, look for a top-quality agreement that will be detailed during the Sprint.

The same happens with Sprint plan tasks; that is to say that it is not strictly necessary to completely list all the tasks that will be carried out since many will appear as work progresses. Additionally, it is recommended that each task last less than a day. This will allow you to detect blockages or delays during daily meetings.

Although the Product Owner does not participate in the decomposition of PBIs into tasks, he/she makes a contribution if the Developers need answers to new questions to clarify their understanding of the product needs. At the end of this meeting, the Scrum Team will have developed a Sprint Backlog and will be able to begin the work of the Sprint to transform the PBIs into an Increment in value that respects the Definition of Done and achieves the Sprint Objective.