What Is Sprint Planning? (Definition, How-to and Benefits)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 16 October 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Scrum features several critical steps, the first of which is planning for sprints. The quality of a sprint’s planning helps determine how efficiently you and your team members can work. If you want to become a project manager, it's important to know how to make a good sprint plan to track all your product development closely. In this article, we define sprint planning, discuss how to prepare for a sprint plan meeting, explain how to create a sprint and outline the benefits of using sprints in software development.

Related: What Is a Scrum Product Owner? (Plus Responsibilities)

What is sprint planning?

Sprint planning is the process through which project team members identify the products they can provide within a defined period or sprint and brainstorm how to execute their plan. A sprint is a short period during which an organisation's development team works to fulfil particular milestones, tasks or deliverables. It divides a project's schedule into periods a team can use to achieve smaller objectives.

Planning a sprint helps outline a product's development plan on a micro level, subject to the team’s evaluation of product requirements. Professionals often plan sprints when working in a scrum-based setting. Scrum is a framework for project management that developers frequently use in the software development industry.

Related: What Does a Product Developer Do? (Definitions and Examples)

Planning a sprint meeting

Here are several steps to plan for a sprint meeting:

Prepare your backlog

To be a successful product owner, it helps to be resourceful, focused and organised. The product owner prepares the backlog as the first step in sprint planning. A product backlog is a detailed list of requirements for a product. During the course of development, they have the option to change budgets, drop features or add information. It's easier for a scrum team to plan for each sprint if they have access to an up-to-date backlog. Regularly updated backlogs can assist product owners in managing their time effectively and having necessary information before meetings.

Determine the availability of team members

Before initiating a sprint, it's important to ensure everyone on your team is available and has the skills they require to do their jobs. It's important to have your team's total commitment while organising sprints. It's also helpful to have all your resources available to handle any challenges that may develop throughout the planning phase.

Related: 8 Scrum Master Interview Questions (With Sample Answers)

Analyse your team's speed

As you prepare for a sprint meeting, it’s a good idea to assess your team's ability to get work done. Knowing how much work your team can perform in a single sprint can allow you to set a more accurate schedule. Your velocity depends on the time your team can effectively collaborate as a unit and the number of backlogs they can clear. Evaluating the velocity of a new team entails measuring the team's deliverables for each sprint they complete. A team that can manage a higher workload has a higher velocity.

Organise your sprint meeting

The scrum master decides on the meeting dates, locations, agendas and attendance. The size of a sprint often determines the duration of a meeting. You may estimate the duration of your meeting by multiplying the weeks in a sprint by two hours. For instance, a typical planning meeting for a two-week sprint lasts around four hours. Share the meeting agenda with team members, product owners and other stakeholders several days before the meeting so that participants have time to prepare any necessary documents.

Related: 7 Scrum Master Certifications That Can Help You Succeed

How to create a sprint

You can follow these steps to create a sprint:

1. Plan the sprint

The team has a sprint plan meeting at the start of each new sprint. All project team members, the scrum master and the product owner attend the meeting. During this meeting, the product owner reviews the project's existing backlog and provides input on how they can prioritise activities. The development team decides which backlog items they can complete throughout each sprint. The team members devise plans to finish outstanding work and adapt to new requirements as they arise. During the sprint, they transfer items from the project's backlog to the sprint backlog and prioritise their completion.

Related: How to Become a Scrum Master: Essential Skills and FAQ

2. Track the progress

During the sprint, staff members may monitor the team's work and address any problems they have. The meeting, which is usually casual, takes place at the start of the workday. In this meeting, staff members give updates on their work and goals for the day. Participants may provide alternatives to current problems, express concerns and propose ways to increase work efficiency.

3. Focus on execution

The teams devote the bulk of the sprint time to project execution. Team members utilise daily scrums to express their expectations and discuss ways to enhance their operations. Typically, the product owner offers feedback to the team, responds to questions, provides advice and examines intermediate work. When unanticipated circumstances emerge, or the customer wants a modification, the product owner can also consider revisions to the sprint objective.

Related: How to Write an Effective Product Owner Resume (With Sample)

4. Perform the sprint review

This review covers the product's newest features and plans. This provides greater visibility, control and risk management than typical software development life cycles. The following is a typical sprint review meeting agenda:

  • welcoming stakeholders

  • presenting the sprint review agenda

  • presenting the demo the team has developed in the execution phase

  • obtaining feedback from stakeholders

  • reviewing the product backlog and receiving feedback and recommendations for the upcoming sprint

  • concluding the meeting with action plans and setting the delivery date

5. Review sprint retrospective

A sprint retrospective happens after the sprint review but before the subsequent sprint plan meeting. The scrum master, product owner and development team can all be present. The team examines previous mistakes, handles complaints, finds areas for improvement and sets a strategy to execute them in the next sprint during this meeting.

Related: What Is Software Development? Definition, Process and Types

Benefits of planning sprints

Planning sprints enables teams to tackle big and complicated projects efficiently. Here are some of the benefits of working in sprints:

Increases the emphasis on quality

Sprint evaluations rely heavily on quality control. Review meetings allow you to showcase your finished work and gain input from others. Retrospective meetings after sprints enable team members to review the iteration's outcomes, find improvements and make changes for the next iteration.

Increases productivity

Meetings may serve to enhance the significance of team and organisational objectives. Working on a common goal within a set deadline may facilitate more equitable job sharing amongst team members. It's also much easier for team members to discuss and contribute when they share the same project vision.

Related: FAQ: What Is Agile Modelling in Software Development?

Helps teams monitor their progress

Sprint meetings allow you to monitor the progress of objectives. It's important to frequently assess project progress to keep customers informed and determine if extra resources are necessary to accomplish project objectives. It also enables you to track team members' performance and provide feedback.

Lowers expenses

Large projects need many resources and might take a long time. Changing customer needs may cause substantial project changes, leading to delays and more significant expenses. Teams are more adaptive to changes in requirements when using sprints, and past sprint tasks may stay intact despite substantial changes in the current sprint. This dramatically decreases project costs and timelines.

Encourages cooperation

Sprint meetings enable product owners to collaborate with a development team. Team members may exchange crucial product details to ensure everyone understands the project's aims. These gatherings may foster cooperation and improve teamwork, making it easier for specialists from various areas to cooperate.

Related: What Does a Software Developer Do? (With Skills and Salary)

Reduces risks

During an Agile project's sprint, the team has many chances to fix a possible problem before it becomes a significant issue. The team members benefit from regular stand-ups and updates to remain informed and focused. If they encounter a similar issue in the future, they're going to have a working solution. Agile project sprints also help teams to perform several feedback loops, assisting them in swiftly identifying and resolving possible difficulties.

Transparency

Everyone on an Agile team shares knowledge and a vision of the final product. Team members may update their work status using issue tracking software, which is available to everyone on the development team. The alignment of team members with their duties and responsibilities promotes enhanced visibility and transparency.

Encourages independence

During sprint meetings, it's critical to promote participation. This enables the individual team members to discuss their opinions, including any challenges they may be going through or resources they may require for a particular job. This can encourage more independent thinking amongst team members, which gives a project additional viewpoints to help design more thorough strategies.

Allows experts to discuss issues

Product owners benefit from planning meetings since it enables them to communicate their concerns about a project, including finances, features or timelines. Expressing complaints about a product can assist the development team in better grasping the project's goals. Sometimes, product owners don't realise that the development team has already implemented answers to various challenges, and the efficient sharing of information during planning meetings helps clear up any confusion.

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