In the Scrum methodology, iterations, work and deliverables are completed in “sprints.” These sprints usually align with the project goals of a product owner, i.e. the specific team lead on a development project. A sprint can take anywhere from one week to four weeks and the scrum sprint planning session takes place on Day One. So, what is sprint planning in Scrum and how does it differ from traditional project planning? Let’s take a look.
What is Sprint Planning in Scrum?
As opposed to a general outlining of the tasks and deliverables connected to a specific project, a Scrum sprint planning session gathers together the whole team for a meeting to decide on the scope of the sprint and task delegation. According to the Scrum Guide, a sprint planning session can last up to a full day for a month-long sprint, though it is more normal for teams using shorter sprints to complete their planning sessions in 2-4 hours for a two-week long sprint.
Essentially, a Scrum sprint planning session involves moving tasks and requirements from the Product Backlog onto the Sprint Backlog. This in itself involves the presumption of the quality and exhaustive nature of the Product Backlog, which can be a risk, though it is also something which will generally be identified quickly during the Sprint Planning session, which is another of its functions and advantages.
Another feature is the collective nature of the sprint planning gathering, as it puts the whole team in the team room together for a significant period of time, providing a platform for improving connections and strengthening communication. For remote teams, this can be an especially rare opportunity to task everyone with working on something in unison. The meeting will generally be facilitated by the Scrum Master, who is charged with ensuring a productive flow of discussion and maintaining focus on the sprint goal.
How a Scrum Sprint Planning Session Works
Sprint planning occurs in two phases. The first is defining the scope of the sprint. During this phase, the tasks that the team believes it can complete within the sprint’s timebox are chosen from the product backlog. Taken into account are factors such as:
- What resources are available for the sprint’s timespan?
- How closely do the chosen tasks from the product backlog align with the sprint goal?
- What is the level of confidence of the team with regard to the chosen tasks?
- Are there any other factors which will affect resource availability?
The second phase is planning the sprint. This is where the team decides:
- How a specific task will be delivered
- How individual resources will be allocated
- What extra resources may need to be brought in
- Whether there are synergies between task items that can be exploited
- Assigning ownership of individual tasks
Sprint planning and monitoring are made a lot easier when using the right tools. Clarizen Go was specifically created with methodologies like Scrum in mind and gives users the ability to view their tasks and dashboards in a Scrum layout. To find out how Clarizen can help your team plan and execute sprints, talk to our team today to organize a live demo.