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How Cross-Functionality makes for a more effective Sprint Planning (56)

February 1, 2024

We started this Scrum foundation series explaining we see four underlying concepts of the Scrum framework. In the past series of mails we covered the three pillars of Empiricism, the Scrum Values, and Self-Management.

A self-managing team is taking decisions about who does what, when, and how. This ensures the team can move forward without unnecessary waiting time. If we want to improve on that, and to support the team taking ownership, having the needed skills within the team is another step.


👉 Cross-functional, meaning the team internally has all skills needed to successfully complete their goals.


Growing cross-functionality = growing skills = raising mastery = higher motivation = higher effectivity.


During each of the Scrum Events, and throughout the Sprint itself, the Scrum Team should have all necessary skills in order to reach its objectives.


Let’s start with Sprint Planning.


Remember the objective of Sprint Planning: to have a plan for the Sprint. Why is the Sprint valuable? What can be Done this Sprint? How will the chosen work get done?

Next to skills for being an awesome team player such as listening, speaking up, giving and receiving feedback, etc. what is expected more specifically for Sprint Planning?

Without even trying to being exhaustive, here are a skills I would expect the team to use:

  • Analytical: What does this item imply? What is the impact of it for the users? How will it impact the current architecture?
  • Organising: How could we approach this Product Backlog Item? What activities will we need to perform? What skills will we need for it? Who has these skills? How will we collaborate on this?
  • Decision-making: What to take up? What to wait with for later Sprints?
  • Prioritization: What item do we take up first? Can we take on some tasks in parallel?
  • Forecasting and estimating: What is realistic to take up this Sprint? Have we taken technical debt into account? Have we taken refinement sessions into account? Have we looked to our past performance?
  • Risk aware: What risks might we run into? How could we lower these risks?
  • Story telling: How to explain a use case and the value of an item to other team members?


These are just a few examples of skills that are put in action during a Sprint Planning event.


☝️ It is not a matter of who in the team has the skills, as long as together the team has the skills needed.


Cross-functional is about having all skills within the team to create value each Sprint.

In order to accomplish the purpose of Sprint Planning, the Scrum Team needs specific skills that have to do with planning activities.


Together with your Scrum Team, evaluate which skill improvements the team would benefit from to make your Sprint Planning events more effective.


I hope you find value in these short posts and if you are looking for more clarifications, feel free to take contact.

If you want to take a deeper dive into the core concepts we are covering in this blog series, then surely check out our Professional Scrum MasterY workshop. We have some scheduled in the coming period.

Don't want to miss any of these blog posts? Have the professional Scrum foundations series weekly in your mailbox.

A Cross-Functional Team during Sprint Planning

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