Within the Scrum methodology of agile software development, the sprint begins with the sprint planning meeting. At the sprint planning meeting, the Product Owner and also the team come together to decide what stories a team will attempt to total in that iteration of work. Time-boxed to four hours, this meeting is a negotiation between Product Owner. That is, the Product Owner is responsible for determining which stories are of the highest priority to the release and which will yield the highest company value, but the team has the capability to push back and voice concerns or impediments. After all, the team – which actually completes the work – may be conscious of a legitimate factor obstructing development.
Once the team commits to the proposed work, the Product Owner moves the corresponding stories into the sprint backlog. For teams utilizing manual agile, this could be physically represented by moving a Post-It note or index card having a story written on it from the backlog into the spring backlog. For teams utilizing an agile tooling remedy, this might be represented in several methods. In my company’s tool, ScrumWorks Pro, there is a two-paned view of a project, in which the product backlog appears on the best and also the sprint backlog on the left. Making use of an intuitive, drag-and-drop interface, the Product Owner can quickly move stories into the sprint.
At this point in the sprint planning meeting, the Product Owner is normally excused whilst the team breaks the sprint backlog items into individual tasks. Even though the Product Owner is asked to leave at this point to ensure that the team can candidly discuss the work to be completed, he or she is nonetheless expected to be “on call” to answer questions, clarify acceptance criteria, or renegotiate. This meeting, previously referred to as the sprint definition meeting, is also time-boxed to four hours, to ensure that all sprint planning activities could be completed in a single day’s time.
With sprint objectives defined, the team is ready to hit the ground running. Of course, you can find several other meetings which happen throughout the sprint. In my next two articles, I’ll discuss them and their value to Scrum’s inspect-and-adapt process.