What is a sprint planning meeting?

By Forecast Team

A sprint planning meeting is a session in Agile project management where a team plans the work to be completed during the upcoming sprint, a fixed time period typically lasting 1-4 weeks.

The meeting involves reviewing the backlog of tasks or user stories, prioritizing them based on importance and feasibility, breaking them down into smaller tasks, estimating effort, and assigning them to team members. The goal is to define a clear sprint goal, determine what can be accomplished within the sprint, and ensure everyone understands their roles and responsibilities.

Sprint Planning Meeting Agenda Template

We've jotted done an example agenda for a typical sprint planning meeting you can copy and adjust to suite your own requirements:

Typical Duration: 1.5 to 2 hours

Review Previous Sprint

  • Discuss the accomplishments and challenges faced during the last sprint.
  • Review any incomplete tasks and understand the reasons behind them.

Review the Product Backlog

  • Present the top-priority items from the product backlog.
  • Discuss the user stories or tasks in detail to ensure everyone understands the requirements.
  • Prioritize backlog items based on their importance and dependencies.

Define Sprint Goal

  • Establish a clear and concise sprint goal that encapsulates the primary objective for the upcoming sprint.
  • Ensure the sprint goal aligns with the overall project or product objectives.

Task Estimation

  • Break down the selected backlog items into smaller, actionable tasks.
  • Use techniques such as planning poker or relative sizing to estimate the effort required for each task.
  • Encourage team members to provide their input and reasoning behind their estimations.

Capacity Planning

  • Assess the team's capacity for the sprint considering factors like team member availability, skill sets, and any upcoming holidays or leave.
  • Adjust the scope of the sprint or redistribute tasks if necessary to ensure a realistic workload.

Task Assignment

  • Assign tasks to team members based on their skills, expertise, and availability.
  • Ensure that each team member has a balanced workload and clear responsibilities.
  • Foster open communication to address any concerns or preferences regarding task assignments.

Define Acceptance Criteria

  • Collaboratively define the acceptance criteria for each user story or task.
  • Ensure that acceptance criteria are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART).
  • Use examples and scenarios to illustrate the expected outcomes.

Define Definition of Done (DoD)

  • Discuss and agree upon the criteria that define when a task or user story is considered completed.
  • Include criteria related to functionality, performance, documentation, and testing.
  • Ensure that the Definition of Done reflects the team's quality standards and customer expectations.

Create Sprint Backlog

  • Compile the selected backlog items, tasks, and their respective estimates into the sprint backlog.
  • Use a visual board or project management tool to track progress and updates throughout the sprint.
  • Ensure that the sprint backlog is transparent and accessible to all team members.

Confirm Commitment

  • Confirm the team's commitment to achieving the sprint goal and delivering the planned work.
  • Address any potential risks or obstacles that may impact the team's ability to meet the sprint commitments.
  • Reinforce the importance of collaboration and communication throughout the sprint.

Review Meeting

  • Summarize the key decisions and action items from the sprint planning meeting.
  • Confirm the date, time, and location for the upcoming sprint review and retrospective meetings.
  • Encourage team members to provide feedback on the sprint planning process for continuous improvement.

Practical Application

Development Teams: For development teams, it's essential to break down user stories into granular tasks, estimate the effort required, and ensure that tasks are evenly distributed among team members. Utilize tools like Jira, Trello, or Asana to manage the sprint backlog and track progress effectively.

Creative Teams: Creative teams can adapt the sprint planning process to prioritize tasks related to design, content creation, and campaign execution. Collaboratively define acceptance criteria for creative assets and establish a workflow that supports iteration and feedback loops.

By following a structured sprint planning process, both development and creative teams can streamline their workflow, enhance collaboration, and deliver high-quality results within the sprint timeframe. Regularly revisit and refine the sprint planning process based on team feedback and lessons learned to optimize productivity and outcomes.

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