Effective Agile sprint planning with a sprint planning template
What is sprint planning?
Sprints help you reach key milestones and are fundamental to Agile workflow. Sprint planning is an important scrum ceremony used to determine what can be built by development teams during these sprints.
In this article, you’ll learn how to use our sprint planning template to define which backlog tasks will be focused on in the upcoming sprint. This free, editable template can be used for both sprint planning in agile and scrum.
Sprint planning in Agile
A scrum master facilitates sprint planning meetings between the product manager and the development team. Before the meeting, the product owner should review the product backlog to ensure each task is clearly defined, understood and presented from the users perspective.
While sprint planning is essential to ensuring everyone understands exactly what the goal is for each sprint, the ceremony also has other benefits. As a collaborative exercise, it allows everyone to share their understanding and insights of the product, promotes team-building especially in remote Agile teams, encourages problem solving and task prioritization. It also promotes buy-in from staff, as team members gain a sense of empowerment by taking charge of their flow and velocity (amount) of work.
A sprint planning template will not only enable you to project management with ease, it also provides team members with a cohesive to-do-list with their assigned tasks, the due date and priority level.
During an agile sprint planning meeting, you should define two main things:
A sprint goal: What is the main goal of the upcoming sprint
Backlog planning: Which tasks from the product backlog the team will work on this sprint.
The perfect sprint planning agenda with Conceptboard
If you’ve been struggling with creating an agenda for your sprint planning meeting, Conceptboard’s online whiteboard is the perfect tool to level up your planning. Follow the steps below to plan your sprint like a pro with our ready-to-use template.
- Invite your team to collaborate on the sprint planning template by sharing a link to the board. Once they join, everyone can edit and share in real-time.
As a general rule of thumb, multiply the number of weeks in your sprint by two hours to get your total sprint planning timebox, ie: a 4 week sprint needs an 8 hour timebox.
- The product manager should have a succinct backlog (features, user stories, bugs, optimizations, stakeholder feedback) that could be considered for the sprint and add them to the left column on the board.
If they are saved in a spreadsheet, you can easily copy and paste them into the board and they’ll automatically create sticky notes from each cell.
- Organize your backlog by adding a priority level (Low, Medium or High) or use a color code. Use a user story template to determine the best prioritization for the backlog.
- Taking into account any holidays, staff leave and other conflicting priorities, establish the velocity or how much work you think can get done in this sprint.
- Remind the team of the overarching goal for the product, then establish the goal for this sprint.
- Now it’s time to review the backlog, to determine which tasks will be worked on, by who and by when. The team should ask questions, discuss dependencies, and assess skills needed for each backlog before moving tasks into the To-Do column.
- For clarity, add a deadline date and owner on each sticky note.
- To wrap up, the Scrum Master should verify that everyone is comfortable with the sprint plan, and that everyone feels confident with their workload.
Now the planning is complete, it’s time to get to work. This template can be used to continuously update the sprint progress by dragging that sticky note into the appropriate column according to its status.
The Online Whiteboard built for agile teams
A sprint planning meeting is a great way to help teams stay on track, get on the same page and optimise workflow. Using a visual collaboration platform such as Conceptboard can help keep everyone focused, engaged and aligned, while providing a complete overview of the work in progress for the team and other relevant stakeholders.