Agile Planning

Step 1: Plan Sprint

The team along with the Product Owner will plan and commit to a set of user stories which they believe can be delivered in that iteration. The Team Lead ensures that the event takes place. Sprint Planning answers what can be delivered in the Increment resulting from the upcoming Sprint and how the work needed to deliver the Increment will be achieved.  

The backlog of features is prioritized by the Product Owner and estimated by the Development Team. Then the most important features which can be completed are selected. By performing this detailed planning with each iteration, the team can react to new information, pulling in newly discovered, high-priority features. Iteration planning includes these activities:

  1. Prioritize - The product owner orders the backlog in order of priority
  2. Estimate - The team estimates each backlog item in story points following the Scrum estimation process
  3. Using the team’s current velocity (average of the story points completed per iteration) a set of backlog items are selected for the current iteration

Step 2: Refine Backlog

During each iteration, the team will hold refinement sessions to further detail the requirements in the remaining backlog. The Team Lead ensures this meeting takes place to make sure the backlog contains the target of “2 Sprints worth of User Stories in the backlog” at the start of the upcoming new Sprint.

The meetings are attended by the full development team, the product owner and any additional subject matter experts invited by the product owner. At this time the User Stories should already be prepared by the Product Owner to what he believes is Definition of Ready. Critical business questions are already answered between the Product Owner and the business. During the sessions the team will review, provide clarity on and break large stories into smaller ones to prepare stories for development. The team will use their predefined standard (“Definition of Ready”) to determine how much detail is needed to consider a story ready for development.

 Key Insight: Use just-in-time requirements analysis to reduce wasted effort

It is not necessary for all stories in the backlog to meet the DoR at the start of a project. Teams will work over the course of the project to add the right amount of detail at the right time. As a story rises in priority and nears the top of the backlog, more detail will be provided during backlog refinement sessions. Generally, teams should ensure enough stories meet the DoR to fill one to two iterations. This technique allows the team to avoid wasted effort on requirements that may be deprioritized as new information emerges.

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