Friday, September 4, 2009

Plan for the Sprint vs. Sprint Planning

A typical question that comes from teams is how much planning should be made for before starting a Sprint? Further, what should we plan for? These are fair questions without direct answers. Let’s start trying to solve this puzzle one piece at the time.
What is planning?
According to Wikipedia, planning is “…the psychological process of thinking about the activities required to create a desired goal on some scale”. So, if planning involves thinking next questions should be, is this an individual or collaborative activity? The answer for this seems to be quiet intuitive, it’s an individual activity that is performed in a group but not necessarily a team activity.
What is Sprint Planning?
Is the stage in which the team, and when I say the team I mean everybody that actively will contribute during the Sprint (no chickens sorry), gets together in a single room for an X number of hours and try to define what to do. Focus on what and not how. One tip: don’t let the Product Owner run without answering all your questions, lock the door if necessary.
Plan for the Sprint
This is not the Sprint planning stage; this has to do with more tangible things like: capacity planning, logistics and infrastructure. For instance, consider you will be taking vacation and what type of environments or licenses are you going to need in the Sprint. Some other questions might to consider:
  • Should I have to use Agile/Scrum for plan for the Sprint? Not necessarily, since this is a support part necessary for the sprint but not under the scope of the team.
  • Who should take care of this? Somebody in your Management and/or IT staff.
  • Is this really important for the Sprint? Absolutely, you can’t have a Sprint without knowing what resources you’d be committing.

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