Sprint Planning Meeting

Each sprint begins with a sprint planning meeting. For a one month or four-week sprint this meeting should last eight hours. For a two-week sprint, plan for about four hours. As a general rule of thumb, multiply the number of weeks in your sprint by two hours to get your total sprint planning meeting length.

The Sprint Planning Meeting is typically broken into two parts. Part one of the sprint planning meeting is a review of the product backlog items the Product Owner will ask the team to forecast and deliver. This is the time for the product owner to describe what she wants to see built for the next sprint. During this part of the meeting, it is not uncommon for the team to banter back and forth with the product owner, asking clarifying questions and driving away ambiguity. By the end of sprint planning part one, the team will select a sprint goal: a one-sentence description of the overall outcome of the sprint. This helps later when questions about depth and breadth come up: if the work does not directly tie to the sprint goal, then it is not done during the sprint.

During part two of the sprint planning meeting, the team decides how the work will be built. In this meeting the team will begin decomposing the product backlog items into work tasks and estimating these in hours. The product owner must be available during this meeting but does not have to be in the room. In fact, many teams find it helpful to work without product owner during this detailed part of the meeting. Knowing that the product owner is available yet not having her observing all of the discussion about the best way to implement a feature can be freeing for many teams. Many teams find they enjoy discussing many implementation possibilities without worrying that the product owner will panic or misunderstand. If the product owner does remain in the room, the ScrumMaster needs to take charge of this part of the meeting, keeping the team focused and free to explore possibilities without being limited by the product owner’s own ideas or opinions.

The output of the second planning meeting will be the Sprint Backlog.