A sprint planning meeting is a one-day meeting that occurs shortly before every sprint begins. The eight-hour meeting is divided into two 4 hour time-boxed segments.
First Segment - Select Product Backlog Items
During the first segment, the Product Owner presents to the development team the product backlog report he or she has prepared which lists the goals of the project arranged in priority sequence. The purpose of the first segment is for the development team to select those product backlog items that it believes it can complete and turn into increments of user usable material that have a positive value dollar-wise or otherwise during the upcoming sprint.
The decision of what product backlog items should make up the sprint is the responsibility of the Product Owner to make, but the development team should discuss and make suggestions. How much of the material the Product Owner wants to be worked on in the sprint that can be delivered is up to the development team to decide on and take responsibility for.
It should be recognized that at this stage of planning, and especially if it’s for the first sprint in the project, there may be missing or imprecise information resulting in the development team not being able to finish all of the items it agreed to complete in the sprint. Overestimating what can be completed is also more common for a newer development team than an older team that has worked together for a considerable period of time.
The people attending the first segment should be the Product Owner, the ScrumMaster, and the development team. Additional people can be invited to the first segment of the sprint planning meeting if they can provide additional information or advice. Once they state their thoughts, they should be excused. There are no observers at this meeting.
If the Product Owner can not attend the meeting, it is up to the ScrumMaster to stand in for him or her. The Product Owner should have prepared a product backlog report but if this was not done the ScrumMaster must prepare one before the meeting can be held.
Second Segment - Planning Execution
The second segment of the sprint planning meeting is held right after the first segment and is also time-boxed to four hours. During this segment, the team decides how it plans to meet its commitments made in the first segment meeting. Their output is a sprint backlog report which is a list of tasks, time estimates to do them, and assignments of who will do what. The sprint backlog report may be incomplete at first but complete enough for the development team to start working on the sprint. As the team works on the sprint, more tasks will be added to the sprint backlog as more analysis occurs. The sprint backlog report should also state the estimated amount of work remaining on each task on any given day during the sprint.
Post Sprint Meetings
It should also be noted that besides the eight-hour time-boxed planning meeting before a sprint starts, there are two more meetings once the sprint ends. The first is a three-hour time-boxed sprint review meeting at which time the development team presents to the Product Owner and other users what it was able to accomplish during the sprint. Only completed (“done”) product segments are demonstrated.
The second post sprint meeting is the sprint retrospective meeting. It is a three-hour time-boxed meeting where the team discusses the just concluded sprint and what could be changed to improve the next sprint and make it more productive. The ScrumMaster is a key person in this meeting and should facilitate it.
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