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Scrum Planning

Last post 03:22 am May 19, 2021 by Ian Mitchell
3 replies
06:16 pm May 18, 2021

Dear All!

I have recently joined a new organization as a program lead. I have a scrum master who has been managing one of the existing agile projects for 1 year so far. I am observing and assessing how the agile process is set up and look where I can recommend improvements. 

I am seeking your advice regarding Scrum Planning ceremony. At the moment, team decomposes User Stories into tasks after the Sprint planning session. I participated in the planning sessions one time so far and what I have observed is that during the planning the team is presented with the User Stories selected for the Sprint with high level estimates in User Stories ( done by tech lead). During the planning session, we discussed on sprint goal, scope, projected capacity and evaluated risks and issues for User Stories in scope. But the team was not ready to decompose the US into tasks and estimate in hours the tasks. They did it during the next 1-2 days.

It looks wrong to me. Because they waste 2 days "hardly working" by adding estimates and seeing if all work is fitting into the sprint and clarifying questions. 

I have some questions to you, please help with some advice based on your practical experience. Scrum Guide I read in 200%, but as you know "map is not the territory"...

1. Could you please advise how do you come prepared for the Sprint planning session?

2. In practice, what are the activities you focus on during that session?

3. How do you ensure that all User stories are decomposed into tasks and estimated in hours BEFORE Sprint planning?

4. Can you recommend any activities to improve the process?

Thank you


08:13 pm May 18, 2021

A few things to consider:

  • Why is the "tech lead" estimating the work? Why aren't the estimations performed by the whole team? If only one person is estimating, what is the rest of the team doing at refinement?
  • If the team is decomposing stories into tasks after the Sprint Planning session, what is happening at refinement? Is the team able to effectively refine and plan when waiting until after the Sprint Planning session to identify tasks?
  • Does the team see the need to estimate in hours? Or estimate at all?
  • Why do you believe that "all" stories can be decomposed and estimated before Sprint Planning?

01:18 am May 19, 2021

Hello, I'm new with Scrum and this was very informative.

03:22 am May 19, 2021

I have some questions to you, please help with some advice based on your practical experience. Scrum Guide I read in 200%, but as you know "map is not the territory"...

Try reading it again. You may find it doesn't say anything about a Scrum Master managing a project or Sprint Planning being a ceremony, for example.

These ideas, along with the other concerns you have, are rooted not in Scrum but in an organization's established values and thinking. In practice, it is a mistake to try and map them at all.

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