AGILE COACHING CORNER
An effective sprint planning session starts with a well groomed backlog. Scrum Masters should plan on spending time with the team and working with the Product Owner to ensure that the product backlog is sized (for at least the next 3 sprints) and prioritized prior to the sprint planning session.
Sprint Planning answers the following:
- What can be delivered by the team in the increment resulting from the upcoming Sprint?
- How will the work needed to deliver the increment be achieved?
Here is a sample outline to help create an effective sprint planning session;
- Review Sprint Objective (PO)
- Review Team Capacity (SM)
- Decide How the Work Will Be Done (Team)
- Closure (Team Presents to PO & SM)
- A sprint goal
- A sprint backlog including tasks fully committed to by the team
Review Sprint Objective (Product Owner)
The Product Owner discusses the objective that the Sprint should achieve and the Product Backlog items that, if completed in the Sprint, would achieve the Sprint Goal. The purpose of having a goal is to be able to select user stories that support the goal, help you work towards something bigger than just delivering a collection of stories or unrelated features.
Determine Sprint Target Velocity (Scrum Master Facilitates)
The Scrum Master reviews the team’s capacity for the upcoming sprint. This capacity is based on the the number of team members and their availability. Here we take into account upcoming holidays, vacations and any other events that may impact the amount of work the team may want to take on. The SM can then review with the team their velocity trending and ask the team to come up with their Target Velocity. The Scrum Master may also remind the team of their DoR (coaching the team not pick up items that are not yet ready) and DoD (making the team aware of all that needs to be accomplished in order to bring a story to done.)
Decide How the Work Will be Done/ Tasking (Team)
The number of items selected from the Product Backlog for the Sprint is solely up to the Development Team. Only the Development Team can assess what it can accomplish over the upcoming Sprint.
- helps clarify items
- can make trade-offs.
- Can invite other SMEs to attend such as an architect or training SME to ensure that the team has what it needs to create their sprint plan
Pose questions to the team & PO such as;
- what should the team work on if they complete early? Technical debt and additional retrospective action items are good candidates here.
- If they run into difficulties what can be dropped.
Create a productive environment for tasking by providing ground rules such as;
- Estimate each task as a team.
- An estimate is not a commitment.
- No one is going to be tracking actuals for each task and comparing them to estimates.
- No matter what, no one person "owns" a task.
- Re-tasking mid-sprint is perfectly acceptable
- Do NOT assign stories or tasks up front - This is key!
Starting from the top story in the backlog break down the stories into specific tasks. State tasks as deliverables, if at all possible. Instead of describing what you’re going to do, describe what you’re going to deliver.
Make sure to ask everyone in the team what they think, in order to identify missed tasks, or to identify simpler solutions.
Tasks should be small enough to estimate in one day or less. Smaller is better. Breaking tasks down into small chunks means they are easier to estimate, are more easily measurable in the daily Scrum (1 day tasks are either done or not) and they are better distributed among team members - allows more than one person to work on a story!
At this time the Scrum Master and Product Owner may want to leave the room. If they do make sure they return to review together the final goal and increment.The product owner may also be called back for any story trade-offs the team may suggest.
Work Together as A Team: It's better to have 80% of the features 100% done, than to have 100% of the features 80% done.
Create A Sprint Goal (Team)
After the Development Team forecasts the Product Backlog items it will deliver in the Sprint, the Team crafts a Sprint Goal.
The session ends with the team explaining to the Scrum Master and Product Owner how it intends to work as a self organizing team to accomplish the Sprint Goal and create the anticipated Increment.