Monday, September 12, 2016

Value of Sprint Planning meeting

As per Scrum Guide, "Sprint planning" meeting is held to identify/plan the work to be performed in the Sprint. It is a time-boxed event, where teams collaboratively plan the work of the entire sprint. Also, we should try answering two questions in the meeting :
  • What can be delivered in the increment resulting from the upcoming Sprint?
  • How will the work needed to delivery the increment be achieved?
In my mind, the Sprint Planning meeting should create a shared understanding of the piece of work. POs should make sure team understand the value and can visualize the real objective behind the work. 

Also, I don't like one big fat meeting. I am a big fan of backlog grooming meetings, which happens regularly and almost part of any scrum cadence. I would suggest doing it every day like stand-up. May be just after standup, team pick up one top backlog story and discuss with POs. They together try to understand the story. Doing everyday has following advantages:
  • Not taxing to your brain: Since sitting in a long meeting for hours makes every one very tired. Towards the end, everyone just wants the meeting to be over and lose the sprint of asking questions.
  • Keeps it focused: Doing one everyday is lot easier and PO feel less pressurized about the decision since it is not at the eleventh hour and he can give patient hearing to teams point without getting worries about the sprint commitments.
  • Teams can re-iterate over single story multiple times and get proper clarity. 
  • Team members are more involved during this mini planning session vs. big fat one. Also they are in the team space, which makes things lot simpler for them to look or clarify. 
  • Sprint Planning meeting becomes a breeze. We finished our meetings in 30 minutes :).
I did face little roadblocks at times in this process: 
  •  At times team member's memory needed to be refreshed because either they forgot or they were on holiday that day. 
We use to have three columns before backlog column:
  • Feature/Story Requested - PO adds them to be in the backlog as per DoR
  • Feature/Story Discussed - PO discusses them with entire team and they size the card
  • Feature/Story Ready to be prioritize - It is ready to be pulled into the sprint
Never stop the collaboration because you have time pressure, would be my suggestion. Let me know things which you might have tried in your team.