Odd timing of sprint planning meeting

Last post 10:24 pm June 17, 2019
by Ben Brumm
13 replies
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05:24 pm June 11, 2019

One of our development team members sits in UK. So, we conduct sprint planning meeting by our 2 PM. 

The planning meeting easily consumes more than an hour.

Development team complains that because of this odd timing of sprint planning, their "almost" entire day goes waste.

What can be done in this situation? 

11:54 pm June 11, 2019

Why are they saying that almost their entire day goes to waste?

What are they doing between the start of their day (e.g. 9AM) and 2PM?

The new sprint starts as soon as the previous sprint ends, so it sounds like your previous sprint should be ending before the new sprint planning starts. It sounds like your sprint should be ending at 2PM but it's ending the previous day?

08:42 am June 12, 2019

For starters, skip the timing.... If team members are talking in terms of "going to waste", there might be another problem beneath the surface. Because one can Investigate if holding a Sprint Planning meeting is actually considered a waste of time, compared to other activities during that day.

If so, one could also Inspect why so. Is it Transparent why the Sprint Planning is such an important event? Could Sprint Planning be Adapted, so it might be more Valuable? Could there be a lack of Focus? Try to apply inspect and Adapt to this comment of waste.

Surely, if it only is a timing issue, let the team come up with a solution. They are self organizing after all, it is not for the SM to fix it (at first), so instead of commenting to you, encourage them to take action. It will make them more accountable to the outcome of the event anyway

09:45 am June 12, 2019

The Sprint boundary can occur at 2pm or at any other point agreed by the team. Since no time is necessarily more wasteful than another, what is the actual cause of the waste you refer to?

  • Is it really a matter of where the Sprint boundary lies?
  • Are team members collaborating effectively throughout the Sprint, including on the last day?
  • How effective is Product Backlog refinement proving to be in making sure work is “ready” for Sprint Planning?
05:24 am June 13, 2019

After reading all replies I think I should elaborate more- :

In sprint planning work allocation is done (Who will be working on which story). Also, to those story for which estimation is not done in product grooming meeting, estimation is done in sprint planning. 

Hence, we "Start" work in new sprint after completion of Sprint planning meeting.

Since it happens at 2 PM and ends by around 3.30 PM team does not get entire 6 productive hours to work. This is their problem. So they are saying we should not consider that particular day as first day of the sprint as they don't get enough time. We should consider first day of the sprint from "Next" day of the sprint planning meeting.

11:05 am June 13, 2019

 In sprint planning work allocation is done (Who will be working on which story). Also, to those story for which estimation is not done in product grooming meeting, estimation is done in sprint planning. 

>> What stops developers to pull the top ordered item from PB and start working on it? Why there is a need of work allocation ? are the PBIs ordered and top items are transparent enough to start work ? 

Since it happens at 2 PM and ends by around 3.30 PM team does not get entire 6 productive hours to work. This is their problem. So they are saying we should not consider that particular day as first day of the sprint as they don't get enough time. We should consider first day of the sprint from "Next" day of the sprint planning meeting.

>> Does the team believe skipping a day in between Sprints will make their work productive or increase their waste? Do you think ending the Sprint on this day and starting a new one same day might help solving the issue with the time ?

May be like others mentioned , you need to discuss the real problem which is underlying.

 

 

 

08:03 pm June 13, 2019

When does your Sprint Review and Sprint Retrospective occur? It might be that they see the entire day a waste because of all the time they spend in a conference room.  To that I say they are not seeing the value of the events and there is some work to be done on your part as Scrum Master.

As many have said, sprint boundaries can occur at any time of the clock but you should be consistent on when to minimize chances of miscommunication and to give cadence.  I have had teams that did Sprint Planning over the lunch time, at 10:00 am, at 4:00 pm.  All of them were chosen by the entire team.  If your co-located team wants to change the time, your UK based individual needs to be included in that decision as it impacts their work and ability to understand the work selected.  If your team feels it should be moved earlier in the day, you will most likely be middle of the night or very early hours of the morning for the UK resource.  It might be better to move the planning to your 3:30-5:00. It makes it better for you co-located because it closes a day and they can start fresh next morning with work.  But it will cause the UK member to split their day in half.  Again, let the entire SCRUM TEAM decide not just a portion of the Development Team. 

In sprint planning work allocation is done (Who will be working on which story). 

What is wrong with everyone on the team being responsible for the work on every story?  Yes, one individual may work more on one story than others, possibly entirely on one story.  But why are stories allocated?  

 So they are saying we should not consider that particular day as first day of the sprint as they don't get enough time. We should consider first day of the sprint from "Next" day of the sprint planning meeting.

I have had teams that want their Sprint Planning towards the end of the day as an excuse to take time at the end of the day to prepare for the next day.  Sometimes they clean up their development environment by removing old branches or updating the relevant branches.  They take time to clean out email inboxes.  They take time to make sure that they have access to the resources they will need for their work.  A lot of things related to the coding they will need to be done can be accomplished in 1.5 hours.  Otherwise they will be spending the 1.5 the next day doing the same thing.  I see their issue as being "I can't write much code in 1.5 hours" when they should be visualizing how they can use that 1.5 hours to their benefit. I have also had teams want the Planning to be the very last thing of the day. This fits your teams desire.  But your UK based individual would be starting work immediately while they delay their start. Is that a problem?  Only your team can decide.

 

06:42 pm June 15, 2019

 But your UK based individual would be starting work immediately while they delay their start. Is that a problem?  Only your team can decide.

UK based lead does not code. He is more into planning, technically guiding development team here and coordinating with client. Regarding your other points about utilizing time till sprint planning ceremony, I have already discussed it with development team but they are saying they don't need it and it's simply waste of time if we start sprint planning late.

 

When does your Sprint Review and Sprint Retrospective occur? It might be that they see the entire day a waste because of all the time they spend in a conference room.  To that I say they are not seeing the value of the events and there is some work to be done on your part as Scrum Master.

Sprint review 2-3 days before sprint end and retrospective on last day of the sprint.

 

 It might be better to move the planning to your 3:30-5:00.

That's what we are doing now. But in this case till 3.30 PM development team members do nothing.

 

 

>> What stops developers to pull the top ordered item from PB and start working on it? Why there is a need of work allocation ? 

The reason is this question- Who will work on which item ? UK team lead logs in by our 2 PM .  We need his input for this decision. But going forward we will decide this in grooming meeting itself . I think this should work.:)

 

Does the team believe skipping a day in between Sprints will make their work productive or increase their waste? Do you think ending the Sprint on this day and starting a new one same day might help solving the issue with the time ?

To tell you honestly, they don't care . Ending the sprint and starting the new sprint on the same day does not seem to be a good solution as it would be too much for the team. But as I mentioned above, deciding who will work on which story in grooming meeting should solve this issue. 

Thanks all for your valuable inputs. Appreciate.

 

 

06:19 pm June 16, 2019

But in this case till 3.30 PM development team members do nothing.

I do not understand why they are idle during bigger part of this day. Why can't they pull into Sprint Backlog enough tasks to forecast still being busy with them on that part of last day?

12:49 am June 17, 2019

But in this case till 3.30 PM development team members do nothing.

This is the key point. I also agree with Filip above.

Vishal - it seems like the issue is that the previous sprint ends at the end of the previous day, and the next sprint starts at the planning session in the afternoon. And the time in between is the idle part.

Could you suggest ending the sprint at 3:30 on the day of the planning, and not the day before?

For example, if your planning meeting is Tuesday at 3:30 PM, then the previous sprint should end at Tuesday 3:30 PM, not Monday 5:00 PM.

In Scrum, there is no in-between time in a Sprint.

 

06:08 am June 17, 2019

Could you suggest ending the sprint at 3:30 on the day of the planning, and not the day before?

For example, if your planning meeting is Tuesday at 3:30 PM, then the previous sprint should end at Tuesday 3:30 PM, not Monday 5:00 PM.

You mean deliberately ending the sprint on 11th day and not on 10th day. Not sure if this is allowed. 

08:16 am June 17, 2019

Scrum Guide reads: "A new Sprint starts immediately after the conclusion of the previous Sprint."

So, developers have every right :) to keep themselves busy all the time with work, as there definitely should NOT be any time wasted between the sprints.

Exact date (10th or 11th day) is not important.

07:07 pm June 17, 2019

The sprint boundary in Scrum is immutable.   The next sprint begins when the previous sprint's time box expires.

I believe part of your team's issue is that, for some reason, they feel they cannot work unless they can recognize and are within the boundaries of a sprint?

Surely, working (developing, testing, refinement, reading, learning, etc) is preferable to sitting idle, yes?   What is preventing the non-UK members of your team from starting work on 1-2 items that are probably 99% certain to be a part of the next sprint, while awaiting the actual Sprint Planning event?

In sprint planning work allocation is done 

Is that the most efficient use of Sprint Planning time?   Not to even bring up the inefficiencies present with a lot of WIP in a sprint, but could this effort also be wasteful for other reasons?

 

10:24 pm June 17, 2019

You mean deliberately ending the sprint on 11th day and not on 10th day. Not sure if this is allowed. 

There is a two week period between sprints, and it sounds like this can span 11 days. So in my view this is OK.