Effective Scrum Sprint Planning in Agile Development

If you’re following the agile methodology in software development, you’ll complete your project in small sprints. These sprints help you speed up feedback loops, allowing you to deliver frequent cycles and quickly adapt to changing requirements.

But you need to make sure that you plan your sprints effectively, otherwise you’ll have unrealistic goals, overcommitments, reduced quality, and missed opportunities.  

What is sprint planning?

In agile development, your project is broken down into small iterations or cycles, called “sprints”. These cycles will have a fixed duration, which is normally between one-four weeks.

The purpose of sprint planning is to define what work will be delivered during the upcoming sprint, including the tasks, goals, and timelines.

Effective sprint planning will increase focus and clarity, speed, and visibility, and adaptability.

What should your sprint planning involve?

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1. Defining your sprint goal

As a team, you need to define a clear and concise goal for the sprint, and make sure it’s SMART. Your goal should be achievable within the sprint timeframe.

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2. Reviewing the product backlog

The product backlog includes a list of features and tasks that need to be completed for the product. During your meeting, you should select and prioritise items that can be completed during the sprint timeframe. Make sure to take into account any dependencies.

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3. Task and capacity planning

Once you’ve chosen the items for your sprint, you need to break down each item into smaller, actionable tasks, which are then assigned based on skills and availability.

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4. Estimating effort

You’ll need to discuss how long you think each item will take, and how much resource you think will be needed. Use techniques like story points or timeboxing.

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5. Contingency planning

Anything can happen during a sprint! Anticipate potential challenges and discuss strategies early.

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6. Create the sprint backlog

You’ve reviewed your backlog, discussed the items, tasks, estimates, and resource. Now you can create your sprint backlog which will serve as a single source of truth throughout the sprint.

Best practices for sprint planning

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1. Active participation

Collaboration is key! Encourage active participation from the entire team, including development, testing, project management, and product owners.

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2. Flexibility

Agile teams are more adaptable, so embrace change and be open to adjusting priorities based on evolving requirements.

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3. Clear communication

Make sure that you discuss any dependencies or concerns that might affect the psrint during your sprint planning meeting.

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4. Continuous improvement

Conduct regular retrospectives to reflect on the sprint planning process, so that you can identify areas for improvement and implement changes for future planning sessions.

Conclusion

Sprint planning is a catalyst for collaboration, innovation and successful project delivery. By incorporating best practices, and embracing continuous improvement, you can transform your sprint planning and continue delivering high quality software.

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Rebecca Lawton

Rebecca Lawton

Our Head of Partnerships and Marketing, Rebecca, is responsible for the generation and management of digital marketing content. She is an accomplished copywriter and has experience in SEO. Rebecca also leads our community engagement programmes, and works closely with our key partners.