There's a fair amount of work that’s done in preparation for a first sprint. Once the backlog grooming is complete, we do a refinement meeting to go through each ticket in preparation for technical planning. Everyone attends this refinement meeting, including quality assurance (QA), engineers, and product owners. Together the entire team comes up with the architecture of the sprint planning meeting.

This approach is far more expedient because ideas and concerns—such as whether a new API is needed or an existing one will work—can be bounced around and off one another in real-time. It’s also a great way for team members to hold one another accountable.

A Team Approach to Sprint Planning Meetings

People sometimes wonder what the value of so many meetings are. Shouldn’t we just get down to coding already? But we believe:

  • The best ideas come from the whole team.
  • By holding multiple sprint planning meetings, a ton of rework and refactoring is avoided.

In other words, it’s an extremely powerful way of doing things that saves you from all the mess that typically comes up, particularly from QA, when jumping too quickly into the sprint planning meeting.

Unlike the Kanban method, which is more continuous and where things are done one at a time in order of top priority, agile scrum development is based on short, structured sprints. The better those sprints are planned for, the more value you bring to the product. Of course, Kanban can sometimes be a great way to start a project. Still, we believe it’s better to move as quickly as possible into a sprint situation.

Long story short, the more intensive planning you do before a sprint, the better your chances are for success.

Prerequisites of a Sprint Planning Meeting      

As they say, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Before jumping into the agile sprint planning, certain necessary conditions should be met:

  • A prioritized backlog
  • Groomed stories
  • Definition of Ready (DoR)
  • Planned capacity

The goal is to make the sprint less of a moving target and more of a force that leads to predictable outcomes, sustained momentum, and a sense of achievement.

Sprint Planning Meeting
Sprint Planning Meeting

What Happens During a Sprint Planning Meeting?

Each software development project is different, but a typical sprint planning meeting covers:

  • Negotiating and finalizing the sprint goal.
  • Understanding the story or stories.
  • Creating and assigning tasks on individual levels.
  • Estimating hours for each task.
  • Updating and validating available individual bandwidth.
  • Mapping dependencies and risks.

During the meeting, product owners also all clarify the doubts, if any, of stories.

The structured flexibility of sprints allows for measured adaption to change, lets engineers more collaboratively solve problems, and facilitates the incorporation of new ideas. Through structured standups, product owners stay engaged in every step of the process so feedback is consistent and issue resolution rapid.

The Long Road to Successful Sprint Planning is Worth It

There are two main goals to a sprint planning meeting:

  • Agreement on the sprint goal, or what will be delivered at the end of the sprint.
  • A sprint backlog that contains a prioritized set of user stories, bugs, enhancements, tasks, and sub-tasks for the up-coming sprint.

As a proven leader in software development, Zibtek understands the value sprint planning meetings bring to agile software development with Scrum. As an integral part of our software project process, sprint planning meetings help align everyone on the same page while also getting the necessary infrastructure and processes in place. High-level benefits include goal and scope visibility, task discovery, improved team collaboration, and more.If you’re ready to learn more about how Zibtek’s sprint planning process helps you get the most out of your software, we invite you to check out our Software Development Comparison Guide or reach out to us today with any questions you might have.