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Following a recent Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) course, one of my delegates posed the following question to me.

“Good morning David, so far the training is paying off, the handout is my agile Bible :-).  

I’m facilitating a Sprint Planning meeting and so wanted to ask for some tips on how to run a good session? Any advice you can give will be very much appreciated.”

The Agile Alliance describes Sprint Planning as “an event in the Scrum framework where the team determines the product backlog items they will work on during that sprint and discusses their initial plan for completing those product backlog items”. With this in mind – and as the facilitation of Sprint Planning Meetings is an area that arises from time to time – I thought it would be beneficial to share my response below.

“Understand the Product Backlog Items”

Most important of all, make sure that the Product Backlog Refinement has been properly performed in advance so that the Product Owner and Development Team fully understand the Product Backlog Items. A “Definition of Ready” can help with this – we cover this concept on our Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO) Training – and it is something you might want to research further.

Secondly, make sure that the team understand the purpose of Sprint Planning and the outputs that they need to agree – the Sprint Goal and The Sprint Backlog.

Formulate a step-by-step plan for how you will facilitate the meeting within the allowed timebox of 2 hours for each week of the Sprint, talk it through with the team and get their feedback – and then be prepared to inspect and adapt during the meeting.

Encourage the Development Team not to over-commit. If they have done previous Sprints then they will have a better idea of what they can accomplish in this Sprint. In fact, if they have done previous Sprints they will have already established an idea of how to do Sprint Planning and you should start by simply facilitating and observing that.

Finally, in the Retrospective at the end of the Sprint, reflect on if and how to improve the Sprint Planning.

Join the conversation

I also posted my above response to the agil8 LinkedIn Community Group, where further valuable input and comments were given by fellow Agile professionals with specialism in this field. To see the full conversation on this topic and to add your own comments, then head over to the agil8 LinkedIn Community Group.

If you have anything to add to this conversation, then we’d love to hear your comments.