Project

Sprint Planning

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The most critical meeting for the most popular software development methodology — getting product and technical teams aligned and focused on the top priorities.
  • Conclude Previous Sprint - close out and move items to backlog
  • Determine Sprint Capacity - based on team availability and velocity
  • Define Sprint Goal - what do we want to achieve as a team?
  • Review Backlog - move in and assign highest priority items, one by one, addressing any questions on requirements
  • Start New Sprint - commit and get started!

Sprint planning is one of the most important meetings to product and tech teams, and indeed the company more broadly — particularly for early-stage and growth businesses, where laser-like focus on building the most important features to deliver the highest value is key.

Since this meeting will define what a scrum team will be dedicating their efforts towards over the coming cycle (usually 2 weeks), it is quite normal for this to be a longer meeting than others, to allow enough time for questions on requirements and discussion over prioritisation, as well as all the relevant administration of marshalling the troops.

In attendance should be all scrum team members — product manager/s, designers, engineers, QA — as well as related support roles like product marketing and analytics. You may also wish to include a small number of representative stakeholders from the business more broadly, if they are needed to give context to requirements or priority decisions. But this is primarily to observe, and numbers should be strictly limited to ensure the meeting stays on track.

Ideally, the scrum team have a good sense of what is in the pipeline, prior to the meeting. The best software development teams involve design and engineering in solving the problem. This can take on a number of forms, but essentially, for work to be incorporated into a sprint, it needs to be reviewed with engineers to understand the complexity and effort involved. This can be achieved with earlier grooming sessions, where detail is fleshed out, questions answered and the specific approach to completing the work is roundly agreed, as well as the size estimated. But if not beforehand, then it must happen in sprint planning.

Watch out though — if dev teams are only seeing high-level requirements for the first time in sprint planning (and on multiple tickets), then meeting length can push out. Insert five minute breaks every 45 minutes or so to make sure attendees don't get worn down!

For Meetric users, we recommend using this template as follows:

  1. Copy the template into your meeting notes in Meetric against your Sprint Planning meeting. If you like, insert breaks into the agenda for longer sessions.
  2. Share the link in the meeting event (if your team is all on Meetric, they will already have access).  If you use a project management tool like JIRA or Trello, you may wish to include a link to the product backlog to make it easy for your team to review beforehand.
  3. Go through the agenda, in order, encouraging discussion but keeping an eye on time. Use the Meetric Timer to stay on track, and pause for five minute breaks where the group needs (every 45 minutes or so).
  4. If you use a project management tool, you can display, edit and move things around in there. But Meetric is great for capturing all those other notes and actions, separate to actual software development tasks! Capture your capacity plan and sprint goal, and anything else that doesn't fit under a specific dev ticket.
  5. Leave a little time at the end to make sure everyone has what they need to execute on the sprint, and that required actions are understood. It's easy for people to focus only on what is in the sprint in their project management tool, so send a recap from Meetric to make sure everyone has a record of other notes and actions.
  6. At the next Retro or Sprint Planning session, you can easily refer back to your meeting notes  using the Meetric Time Machine, to help with your planning efforts going forward.