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Teams wants Sprint planning to take 2 days

Last post 12:12 pm January 27, 2023 by Ryan Kent
4 replies
01:59 pm January 26, 2023

Hi community,

I'm hoping to get some advice on the topic above. I've gone through some of the posts/replies and most have been helpful. We're struggling with completing our sprint goals and one suggestion is the engineers need more time to plan. We already take a whole day for this but they want to extend to 2 days. I'm very apprehensive of taking this step for many reasons. Is there a good reason for it to be 2 days or this points to something wrong in our process?


08:03 pm January 26, 2023

Is the work sufficiently refined and made ready for Sprint Planning?

When a team enters Sprint Planning, the question should never be "can we do this work?". They already know they can, and what's involved. Rather, the question ought to be one of "Should we? Would it make sense for us to do this work in order to meet a useful Sprint Goal?"

08:28 pm January 26, 2023

I'd recommend spending a lot more time on backlog refinement. As Ian said developers should already be well familiar with what stories are expected to be discussed during planning. Extensive refinement allows the devs to get familiar with the stories, ask questions, flush out requirements, dependencies etc. This can save a lot of time during planning. I've found 1-2 hrs/week for 2 weeks sprints and adjust up or down as needed works well. 

09:01 pm January 26, 2023

I agree with @Ian's first question.  Could this be that the team is not spending enough time refining the items in the backlog?  Refinement is an ongoing activity that is carried out by the entire Scrum Team.  The Scrum Guide's section that describes the Product Backlog explains it. I added some emphasis on part of the statement.

The Product Backlog is an emergent, ordered list of what is needed to improve the product. It is the single source of work undertaken by the Scrum Team.

Product Backlog items that can be Done by the Scrum Team within one Sprint are deemed ready for selection in a Sprint Planning event. They usually acquire this degree of transparency after refining activities. Product Backlog refinement is the act of breaking down and further defining Product Backlog items into smaller more precise items. This is an ongoing activity to add details, such as a description, order, and size. Attributes often vary with the domain of work.

The Developers who will be doing the work are responsible for the sizing. The Product Owner may influence the Developers by helping them understand and select trade-offs.

If the team is not taking time to refine the backlog, Sprint Planning becomes much more difficult.  In this case, it sounds like your team is asking to have a day for refinement and a day for planning.  In teams with which I work that take time for refinement, the Sprint Planning is usually over within an hour because all of the discovery and discussions have already occurred. 

I am also curious about this statement you made.

We're struggling with completing our sprint goals and one suggestion is the engineers need more time to plan.

Who made that suggestion?  Was it one of the engineers?  What was the reason to support that suggestion? 

12:12 pm January 27, 2023

Some questions...

We already take a whole day for this but they want to extend to 2 days.

  • How long are your Sprints?
  • Whole day meaning 8 hours? (wanting 16?)
  • How much refinement occurs prior to Sprint Planning

We're struggling with completing our sprint goals

  • How ambitious are your Sprint Goals?
  • Are your goals a focused objective or a laundry list of work to be done?
  • Is it purely the "need for more time to plan"? Any evidence to support this? Could it be something else?

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