What is sprint planning?
Sprint planning is part of the Scrum process, where you plan any activities or work that needs to get done during the next sprint and discuss the sprint goal. Sprint planning answers the following questions:
- What can be delivered this sprint?
- Who is accountable for what tasks?
The length of the sprint will depend on your team, with most teams working on anywhere from bi-weekly to monthly sprints.
What's the benefit of planning in sprints?
For most, company and team goals are set on a quarterly or annual basis. As a team, you're likely working on big features or campaigns. Along with many other benefits, sprint planning allows the team to break these bigger projects into smaller, more manageable chunks of work. This also gives the team a continuous sense of progress, which helps keep motivations level up.
How to run a Sprint Planning Meeting?
Start with the Big Picture, every week
Discussing your goals weekly or bi-weekly increases their confidence in hitting them by 2.7x!. While it might feel repetitive to you, the repetition increases awareness and learning for everyone involved -- people forget 60% of information in meetings after only 48 hours. You need repetition.
Goals/OKRs/KPIs check in (Quick scoring 🟢🟡🔴 5 minutes)
Start with your long term goals, okrs, or KPIs that your team should be driving towards. Quickly score or get consensus on the score of each of these goals and discuss new information as it relates. Not only does this serves as a great chance to remind the team of what's important long term... But it is a great mental reset to ensure your team focuses on what important not just focusing on what's urgent.
If your Goals/OKRs don't feel good enough to talk about weekly/bi-weekly, take a chance to learn how to write good okrs.
If you don't have Goals/OKRs, use our free library of over 360 goal and OKR examples to be inspired -- Including OKRs for 18 specific engineering roles and 4 product roles.
Long-term projects / epics check in (Quick scoring 🟢🟡🔴 5 minutes)
In some cases some projects are encapsulated into your goals in other times they're not. This is your chance to cover those long term projects that are important and need to progress.
With everything level set, let's move to specific and celebrate the wins.
What was completed last sprint? (5 minutes)
Have your team share what was completed last sprint Celebrate progress. Connect and re-connect their work to the bigger picture studies have clearly shown that understanding the signifigance of a task increases performance.
Did anyone go above and beyond last sprint? (5 minutes)
Creating a culture of recognition means giving space for your team to recognize each other. Create known space for people to share kudos for their teammates -- for many, peer-to-peer feedback is more meaningful.
What wasn't completed last sprint? (5 minutes)
Go around the room and have each person share an update on work that wasn’t completed the past sprint and why. Whether it’s scope creep or lack of resources, starting your meeting off with this agenda item will ensure that you’re always working to improve how the team works. It’s also critical information for planning your next sprint because you’ll have a better understanding of your team’s bandwidth and how much new work you can assign.
For the most effective use of everyone’s time, have everyone share this information prior to the meeting (you can do this by adding comments into the item in your Hypercontext workspace!) This will ensure that you spend less time sharing context and more on creating a solid plan for the next sprint.
With a clear understanding of the current state of your team (both long term and short term) let's move into what we need to do next sprint.
Major Issues, Blocks, and Bugs? (5 minutes)
We might not like it, but it's true. Things pop up and become very urgent, very quickly and need to change plans and priorities immediately. Give your team a chance to discuss these decide to focus on them and prioritize properly in relation to your long term goals.
Team capacity, updates, & availability (5 minutes)
Often overlooked is adjustments and changes to team capacity and availability. There's no point in planning a full sprint that for a team that's has people on vacation, and is interviewing candidates all week. Knowing these things now allow you more accurately predict capacity which lets you properly prioritize work. Check your team calendar, HR system, etc, and document true capacity for next sprint.
Re-prioritize and assign tasks/tickets for this sprint? (30 minutes)
This is where you’ll spend the bulk of your meeting. Go through your backlog and start assigning work to each team member. During this time you’ll collaboratively discuss things like:
- What the best use of everyone’s time is
- Concerns about workload
- Any known roadblocks or challenges that will need to be addressed during the sprint
- Who is accountable for each task, project, campaign or feature
- How these tasks align back to the goal of the sprint
Any other issues/concerns?
Once you’ve planned out the sprint, give everyone one more chance to address any issues or concerns before finalizing the work.
With this meeting agenda, you’ll be setting the team up for success every single sprint!