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Sprint Planning. Getting Back to the Basics.

Running a great Sprint Planning event requires discipline, consistency, and a clear vision of what can be delivered and how that work will be achieved in the Sprint. This is an important meeting that should motivate everyone by defining an outcome and a clear plan for success.

If you want a refresher about the Sprint Planning session, here is what you need to know to get started.

First things first, what is Sprint Planning?

Sprint Planning is an event in Scrum that kicks off the Sprint. The purpose of Sprint Planning is to define what can be delivered in the Sprint and how that work will be achieved. Sprint Planning is done in collaboration with the whole Scrum Team.─Dave West

The Sprint Planning should be a timeboxed event and depending on the duration of the Sprint, the planning session will vary, for example, if the Sprint is 1 week, the Sprint Planning session should last about 2 hours. Since the meeting requires the involvement of the entire Scrum Team, is better to plan the agenda and have a strong commitment from everyone involved to attendance and goals for the meeting.

Best Practices

1. “Focus the first part of Sprint planning on the objective of the Sprint rather than the details of the Backlog. By focusing on the goal rather than the work it is possible to find smart alternatives for how that goal is achieved.”@Atlassian

2. Present new updates received from the stakeholders, as well as insights from retrospectives that need to be included in the next Sprint. Make sure the Backlog is refined. Develop a better understanding of the Backlog items, which may include splitting stories and estimating.

3. Add clear and measurable results to the user story. “By getting as much up-front clarity as possible on the work the team is focusing on, everyone gets the transparency needed to get started on the work. For example, leaving things vague is much worse than describing something as a question to be answered during the Sprint” ─ Dave West.

4. Have a good estimation. Explore using different estimation techniques such as t-shirt sizing or story points. Determine team availability and leave time to discuss any new issue that may come up throughout the meeting.

As you are getting ready for your next Sprint session, be honest and realistic with the goals of the Sprint and your capacity. You know that this session doesn’t have to be perfect, but since this is a recurring meeting, strive to learn and improve continuously from your mistakes reflections, and inputs. You'll get better over time.

Good luck with your next Sprint Planning!

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