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Sprint Planning Meeting

Collaborate asynchronously on your next sprint planning meeting
Agile meetings
Team meetings
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Success is a marathon and not a sprint. But for the Scrum Team, success happens within a sprint.  And that's exactly what this article helps you with: to succeed in your sprint planning meeting. Whether it's your first time to run one or you're an experienced Scrum Master looking to make the planning easier, this article is for you. It covers the basics of what goes on in the planning meeting and how to conduct a sprint planning meeting activities successfully.

What is a Sprint Planning Meeting?

Sprint planning has two major components: the what and the how. What are the specific items that can be done and delivered in the sprint? How is the team going to execute the commitments? It also defines what is considered as "done" during that sprint. Some projects or features are not usually completed in one sprint, so the team needs to break bigger items into smaller chunks that fit in one sprint.

Essentially, the Sprint planning meeting definition is a meeting which takes place between the Scrum Master, Scrum Scrum Team and Product Manager where they meet to discuss the backlog items that will be handled during their next sprint.

Who runs the sprint planning meeting?

The scrum master runs the sprint planning meeting. They are usually the Project or Product Manager, but anyone who has a background in software development can be a Scrum Master if they choose to.

Besides the scrum master, the people present in the planning are:

  • Product Owner - Determines the sprint goal and priorities (The What)
  • Development/Scrum Team - Determines how the items are executed (The How)

How long is the sprint planning meeting?

The scrum master also makes sure that the timebox for the meeting is understood. The timebox is the maximum time allowed for a task to be completed. There is no minimum time required. For example, teams who have two-week sprints should have a two-hour sprint planning meeting. If the timebox is two hours, but the team completes the planning in 1.5 hours, the scrum master can end the meeting once everyone is happy with the result.

There are technically no sprint planning meeting rules when it comes to the timebox, but in general, there are guidelines you should follow to keep the meeting on time and efficient.

How to Run a Successful Sprint Planning Meeting

Prior to running your sprint meeting, let your team know that it is taking place by sending out a Sprint planning meeting email template calendar invite.

In your Sprint planning meeting invite template, be sure to include the following:

Review your roadmaps

Everything that you do in the sprint is to execute what you've planned in the roadmap. However, sometimes, you might need to adjust and pivot. Is there new company information that changed the roadmap? If yes, how will this affect your sprint planning?

Prepare the backlog

Successful planning requires thoughtful preparation. One of the most important things to prepare is the product backlog. Make sure to review and update it for clarity and refinement. You can have an asynchronous discussion before the planning so everyone is up to speed during the meeting.

Prepare the agenda

You reviewed the roadmap and backlog. Now, it's time to write the sprint planning meeting agenda and send it to the team before the meeting. Make sure to include all links that are needed for the planning.

What to Include in an Agile Sprint Planning Meeting Agenda

To save time, you can use this free sprint planning meeting agenda template. It follows the Scrum guide structure, so it has all the sections from discussing the goals to getting the final approval from the product owner. You can co-create the agenda with your team by using Discussions on Complish. In a way, it serves as your roadmap to the planning. Everyone can easily see the structure of the planning and all the relevant links and documents.

The sprint planning meeting is comprised of how many sections you may ask? Take a look at the activities in sprint planning meeting. 👇

Sprint Goals

A quick description of what your team plans to complete throughout the sprint.

For example: Increase conversion rate from free to paying users

Overview of what can be expected to be delivered during the sprint (1st part of the meeting) and how the team plans to achieve this (2nd part of the meeting). Focusing on outcomes and not the work.

Product Backlog

Redefine the list of backlog tasks and product items that will be delivered during the sprint. Note the highest priority backlog items. Include the link to the backlog.

If you did an asynchronous Discussion on Complish to review your backlog items, your team is already familiar with the list and has a good idea of the priorities, making your meeting run smoother.

Review New Information & Updates

Identify any new information that may impact the results of your sprint plan.

Define the Velocity

Calculate your team's velocity. According to ScrumInc.com, "Velocity is a measure of the amount of work a Team can tackle during a single Sprint and is the key metric in Scrum." It's crucial to understand the team's velocity because this will inform how many story points you can accomplish in this sprint. When your team has been working together for quite some time, you'll have a better understanding and accurate data of how much work the team can do.

Address Team Capacity

Another consideration that affects how much you can fit into a sprint is the team's capacity. Based on the team's ability, what is their capacity on this sprint? How much can they complete, and in what amount of time?

Known Issues & Concerns

Document feedback of issues or concerns that have come up when going through the previous sprint. Ideally, you already have some discussion on the critical concerns you need to consider during this sprint. Link to the document with the issues.

Assigning the Workload

Determine the needs of this sprint and allocate the work. This is the heart of the meeting, as this is where the collaboration and negotiation happens. How many story points can the team deliver in this sprint? Who will own specific story points? The ScrumMaster should always keep the team focused on the sprint goal and be aware of the time.

Decision Time

It's time for ScrumMaster to get a group consensus on the decided plan and revisit the initial sprint goal. Ask all the stakeholders if they are happy and confident about the plan. Is it consistent with your team's capacity and velocity? Is it aligned with the product vision and the company goals? Once you have everyone's input and the product owner approves, you're now ready to execute.

Now, you're ready to run and rock your sprint planning meeting! Go use this template and start planning your agenda. Check out our other meeting templates, so you stay productive and run better meetings. 👇