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What is Sprint Planning and how does it connect with the other elements of Scrum?

July 5, 2022

Welcome to Scrum Sutra — a series where I shall share a 3-min overview of each element of Scrum and how it connects with the other elements in the bead to form Scrum Sutra.

Today, I shall talk about Sprint Planning.

The purpose of Sprint Planning is to establish a shared and common understanding on why the Sprint is valuable, what can be done in this Sprint, and how the work will be done.

The entire Scrum Team participates in this event, including the Product Owner, the Scrum Master and the Developers.

The event is timeboxed to maximum of 8 hours for a one-month Sprint and is usually shorter for a shorter duration of Sprint.

The reason to timebox is to increase transparency in effectiveness of the event, and retain focus on objective.

The first input to this event is a highly transparent and ordered Product Backlog and the Product Goal within it. This is an accountability of the Product Owner.

The Sprint Planning addresses 3 topics.

The first Topic is “Why is this Sprint valuable?” The Product Owner proposes how the current Sprint can increase the utility and value of the Product. The entire Scrum team collaborates to define a Sprint Goal that communicates what makes the Sprint valuable to the Stakeholders. The Sprint Goal needs to be agreed on by the end of the Sprint Planning. This Sprint Goal creates a cohesiveness to different PBIs, gives reason for the Scrum Team to collaborate, gives the Developers the true north to focus on.

TOPIC 2: The second Topic is “What can be done in this Sprint?” The Developers collaborate to select the PBIs for the current Sprint. They pull in items from the ordered PB which can be done within a Sprint and the Developers have sufficient information to work on. While they discuss with the PO, it is not a decision. There is no scientific way to determine how many PBIs to pull in, so here also the Developers use empiricism. They look at their past performance, their upcoming capacity and the DoD to determine that.

- TOPIC 3: The third Topic is “How will the chosen work be done?” The cross-functional Developers collaborate to come up with all work that needs to be done in order to create a Done increment at the end of Sprint. No one tells them how to do it. This ensures respect for the self-managing capability of Developers.

At the end of Sprint Planning, which gets over when either the timebox expires or when the objective is met, the Sprint Backlog is formed which has Sprint Goal, the PBIs selected and the plan to deliver them.

In this event, the entire Scrum Team is Committed to focus on value, Open to working with people and getting diverse ideas, Courage to take tough work and to embrace uncertainty. Focused on building what is important now and Respect customer and their money by not building unwanted items and maximizing the work not done.

That’s a 3-min overview on Sprint Planning. Stay tuned to the next in the Scrum Sutra series.

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