How to make the most of a sprint planning meeting

Working with agile ceremonies implies having different activities during the work process. The aim of these activities is to help the members plan their work and assessing it; looking to achieve continuous improvement. These activities also help the team avoid making the same mistakes, furthermore saving time.

One of the ceremonies that can create notorious value during the agile performance is the Sprint Planning ceremony. Sprint Planning determines and prioritizes the tasks that the team will be working with during the current sprint and make a quick plan about the way the team will work on the user story. A Sprint Planning ceremony can be very valuable for your team if you structure it right, that’s why we want to share with you some tips that you need to have in mind for your next Sprint Planning session.

First things first...

Define an objective.

What are we going to work with? Defining an objective is to define a specific result the team is expecting to achieve at the end of the sprint.
Why it is important? because there is no sense in just select some story points and start working. It not about just work on something is work with purpose and knowing that in the end there is going to be a testable and “palpable” result.

Once that the team had defined an objective your team needs to select those story points from the backlog. Selection is the right time to determine the story points that the team needs, having in mind that at the sprint’s end the result will be valuable and will create an incrementation.

How we are going to achieve the definition of done?

One of the most relevant activities that you could consider to do in your sprint planning is to talk about the ways the team could achieve the next incrementation. When your team defines a goal, there is no restriction about the different ways that can take you at the same result; but it is important to determine which path the team considered best for work this time.

This activity is also important because the team can talk more about the task that is associated with the user story and noticing if it is going to be more difficult than expected. Making a better sense about the amount of work and helping the team to make better the estimation. By the way…

Estimates

Estimations can be very helpful if you are trying to improve your sprint planning. The point of the estimate is to evaluate through a number how difficult the task is going to be. All this with the aim to evaluate the time that the current sprint is going to take or if the task needs to be tackled on the next sprint. It also could help to determine if the story points are enough or too many.

Estimations can be a little bit difficult for remote teams, check our tool. Scrum Poker for Jira and Confluence.

Consider the risk and complexity.

Sometimes teams think that they are making everything with their job, but in the end, they don’t finish the work and the time wasn’t enough to achieve the incrementation. The problem could be rising in sprint planning and bad estimations. But there is no problem if you have those situations in your team, it is very common and the point is learning from past mistakes. Like in Retrospectives, check out ur tool in Jira.

One excellent way that can help your team to plan better is taking into consideration the risk and the complexity that every task has.

Give some time to your team to reflect on the possible risk that exists with the enforcement of the task selected, maybe consider if the story point is unclear, maybe change in an existent code or possible scenarios that can create uncertainty on the way the task is going to be approached.

The same for complexity, noticing that there are 10 tasks for the sprint, but one of them implies a lot of coding compared with the other nine; Hence, the task is going to take longer and your team will need more time to accomplish it.
sprint planning meeting

Being reflexible about the task that your team is going to board and the complexity or uncertainty that the task could have will help your team to have more accurate estimations and so a sprint plan with clear expectations. Achieving the incrementation at the end of the sprint.

Being agile is a tough task if you have to do it remotely, but the correct tools will help you to be more transparent and adapt quickly. Check the tools that Softwaredevtools has for your team.


Sources