What is Sprint Planning?
Sprint Planning is a formal Scrum Event that should define the beginning of the Sprint. In Sprint Planning, the Product Owner suggests a Sprint Goal for the Scrum Team to commit to over the Sprint. The Developers then negotiate the size of the Sprint Goal – if the Sprint Goal is too big, or too small, the Product Owner and Developers work on defining a right-sized Sprint Goal for the Sprint. This is called The Why (also called Sprint Planning Part 1).
Sprint Planning Part 2, or The What, takes place next. This is when the Developers and Product Owner Inspect the Product Backlog to find Product Backlog Items (PBI’s) that are Ready to be worked on, AND that match the Sprint Goal. If there are PBI’s that match the Sprint Goal, are necessary for meeting the Sprint Goal, and are not Ready, then it’s the Scrum Team’s job to get the those PBI’s ready. When the necessary PBI’s are selected, they are moved to the Sprint Backlog.
Finally, Sprint Planning Part 3, or The How, takes place. This is when the Developers discuss HOW to get the work done for the Sprint. This can be accomplished many different ways. Possibly the most popular way to do this is for the Developers to approach each PBI individually, and break it down into achievable (and small) tasks. Another fairly popular way of doing this is for the Developers to visualize the Sprint Goal as a target destination, and the Sprint as the journey. They then list out all of the necessary tasks they must accomplish on the journey (not necessarily linking those tasks to individual PBI’s). Either way, the tasks are added to the Sprint Backlog.
Need a How-To on Sprint Planning?
If you are experienced in Scrum, here is a more tactical explanation of Sprint Planning that may be more to your liking.
This is what our example looks like.
For each day, you can see that less and less time is dedicated to PBI’s. Why? The space we left open, for last minute problems, will compound daily. And, it may move things from Tuesday to Wednesday, and so on. If we recognize this natural phenomenon, and we allow for it in our plans, then we can adjust to its affects easier.
Here, you can see that Friday is completely open. This actually helps Scrum teams, because the last day of each Sprint is usually dominated by the Sprint Review, Sprint Retrospective, and possibly the next Sprint’s Sprint Planning.