Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Sprint Planning Meetings

One of the biggest confusions in the Agile community is about the need for sprint planning. Some people tend to think that since Scrum for instance is all about adaption, no planning is required.

In order to clarify this confusion is necessary to say that planning is not the same as detailed planning, the big difference is that in detailed planning we look for concrete data about what, how and who would do that during the Sprint. On the contrary, when we do Agile planning, we're just interested in understanding what needs to be done but not exactly how.

Planning sessions are also a great opportunity to question the Product Owner who in turn should look for the answers with final user or customer.

During the second part of the planning stage is necessary that the team estimates complexity for all user stories that will be moved into the Sprint Backlog. Estimated complexity is a fun exercise and an excellent opportunity for team members to make public their understanding of the work that needs to be done. One of the great benefits of this part of the planning meeting is that fosters communication among team members, explaining what one thinks will try to build in the Sprint is a perfect vehicle for understanding it better before even starting to work on it.

Finally, planning meetings should include QA work for testing and validating fixes. One common pitfall is to just plan for implementation but not for testing.

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