5 Tips for Productive Sprint Planning Meetings

The Scrum team decides on the user stories that will be included in the next sprint.  The Sprint Planning meeting is a time-boxed meeting, limited to 1 hour per week of sprint.

These 5 best practiced tips are a proven way to run Sprint Planning Meetings in the most productive way possible.

  1. Prioritize the Product Backlog. When the backlog is prioritized, the scrum team can start task breakdowns and estimations when the meeting begins, otherwise valuable time will be lost to setting priorities. The Scrum Product Owner ensures the stories have relative priority set, and acceptance criteria is defined as much as possible beforehand.

  2. Encourage full team engagement. Scrum Masters elicit feedback from all attendees and keep side-bar topics and distractions at bay. Scrum Teams operate as cross functional teams, and as a result each member has a responsibility to deliver the stories within the next sprint.

  3. Don’t assign tasks.  Scrum teams are self-organized. Teams work to identify the tasks for each story and choose the tasks to work on. The challenge for the Scrum Master in Sprint Planning Meetings is to ensure tasks are distributed evenly amongst the team.

  4. Limited meeting attendees to the Scrum team.  Any extra people in the meeting adds distractions to the team.  Remember, this is a time-boxed meeting, the Scrum Master makes sure all the discussions taking place are directly related to working on selecting stories for the upcoming sprint.

  5. Commit to the stories .  At the end of the meeting, the stories selected will be added to the sprint backlog for the upcoming sprint.  This set of stories is committed to for delivery.  It’s worth noting that stories can’t be added (unless the team finishes all their tasks before the end of the sprint), but that any new tasks that are identified as part of an existing story can be added without any approvals.