User Tools

Site Tools


How Do We Run Our First Iteration (Sprint) Planning Event?

The purpose of Iteration (Sprint) Planning is to allow the Team to commit to what they can deliver in the next Iteration (Sprint) - the committed Team (Sprint) Backlog.

Iteration (Sprint) Planning occurs at the beginning of the Iteration (Sprint), after you have completed the Iteration Demo (Sprint Review) and Retrospective of the current Iteration (Sprint) (i.e. the Iteration Demo (Sprint Review) and Iteration (Sprint) Retrospective are an input to the Iteration (Sprint) Planning). Note that there is typically no gap between the end of one Iteration (Sprint) and the start of the next Iteration (Sprint). (See What Events Should We Put in Place For Iterations (Sprints)? for more information.)

Iteration (Sprint) Planning may be divided into two sessions, be conducted as one session, or occur as a series of shorter incremental sessions. Typically, Iteration (Sprint) Planning is viewed as having two parts:

  • Iteration (Sprint) Planning 1 - Used by the Team to reach common agreement on Product Backlog items with the highest priority (including their Acceptance Criteria (or Conditions of Satisfaction) or Acceptance Criteria), to determine likely items for the Sprint (or Team) Backlog, and to discuss these latter items sufficiently so the Team can effectively conduct Iteration (Sprint) Planning 2, where they will commit to deliver specific items by the end of the Iteration (Sprint).
  • Iteration (Sprint) Planning 2 – used by Teams to determine in detail how they will make and meet their commitment for the Iteration (Sprint) including applicable Definition of Done criteria and considerations regarding individual Team Member availability during the Iteration (Sprint). Most Teams do this by taking each Sprint (or Team) Backlog item and detailing it in terms of the tasks required to complete the work. Each task for an item has an estimate in hours (or, for some Teams, story points) that would take into consideration potential obstacles, risks and dependencies.

By the end of Iteration (Sprint) Planning 2, all Team members should be confident that the worked committed to can be completed by the end of the Sprint or have identified the risks associated with any items about which there are doubts.

The Team should use the data they have to help them make good commitments. For example, during the Iteration (Sprint) Planning 1 process the team will have velocity or throughput information to help them understand how much they can complete as a Team. By keeping a running total of the points a Team thinks it can work in the upcoming Iteration (Sprint), and comparing it to the “normal” velocity of the Team, the team can easily gauge whether they are over-committing.

Similarly when the Team gets to Iteration (Sprint) Planning 2, comparing a running total of the estimated hours on the tasks to a total team capacity for planning purposes will help the team understand what is truly possible to commit to.

Iteration (Sprint) Planning 1

Purpose: Determine what the Team should build in the next Iteration (Sprint).

Who: Team - Team, Scrum Master, Product Owner and other stakeholders as required.

Duration: Maximum 2 hours for a 2 week sprint (10 working days).

Summary Agenda:

  • Define or review Definition of Ready criteria
  • Clarify Team (Product) Backlog items and define or review Acceptance Criteria (or Conditions of Satisfaction) (or Acceptance Criteria)
    • Collaborate to get common understanding
  • Revise estimates
  • The Team picks from prioritized Backlog, taking items to fill to Team capacity

Result: A list of backlog items that are candidates for delivery in the next Iteration (Sprint), sometimes called the Selected Backlog.

Iteration (Sprint) Planning 2

Purpose: How are we going to meet Iteration (Sprint) goals?

Who: Scrum Master and the Team, with the Product Owner at least available to answer question if not fully engaged.

Duration: Maximum 2 hours for a 2 week sprint (10 working days).

Summary Agenda:

  • Determine Team capacity
  • Review “Definition of Done”
  • Team plans how it will work together to deliver
    • One approach is to break the Iteration (Sprint) Backlog into tasks, where estimates on the tasks are no greater than 8 hours, preferably shorter.
  • Identify obstacles/risks
  • Identify dependencies
  • Identify Acceptance Criteria (or Conditions of Satisfaction) or acceptance criteria (tests, inspection)
  • Make needed adjustments
  • Review Iteration (Sprint) Backlog to confirm the Iteration (Sprint) Commitment with the Product Owner

Result: Recorded Iteration (Sprint) Backlog against which the Team has committed to complete by the end of the Iteration (Sprint).

Iteration (Sprint) Backlog

The Iteration (Sprint) Backlog is the result of Iteration (Sprint) Planning. It represents two things:

  1. The subset of the Product (or Team) Backlog that the Team has committed to deliver in the next Iteration (Sprint).
  2. The detailed arrangements that Team has made to help them make the commitment.

For different Teams, the level of detail tracked in the Iteration (Sprint) Backlog depends on the Team. The key information is that the Team makes a commitment, and that commitment is knowable to all stakeholders.


At a minimum, the Iteration (Sprint) Backlog is a list of Product (or Team) Backlog Items that the Team has committed to deliver in the Iteration (Sprint) and the basis of the information required to generate the Iteration (Sprint) Burn-down chart. For new Teams, in most cases this is a detailed plan of tasks the Team expects to undertake to meet their commitment. This detailed plan is created and tracked by the Team.

Checklist - Iteration (Sprint) Planning 1


  • Team is invited: Product Owner, Scrum Master, Team members
  • Product (or Team) Backlog is prioritized
  • Backlog Items are estimated
  • Product (or Team) Backlog is visible and accessible to everyone in the meeting
  • Planned absences (e.g. holidays) of Team members are known
  • The room / environment is suitable for Team discussions
  • The results of the Iteration (Sprint) Review and the Iteration (Sprint) Retrospective are available
  • The Iteration (Sprint) Schedule is defined (i.e. start and end date of the Iteration (Sprint))


  • Make the following items visible to everyone in the meeting:
    • Iteration (Sprint) Schedule
    • Iteration (Sprint) Review Meeting results
    • Iteration (Sprint) Retrospective results (note: these are the public improvement goals rather than, say, minutes of the meeting)
  • The Product Owner informs the team about the Product (or Team) Vision
  • The Product Owner and the team define the Iteration (Sprint) Goal
  • If there are Backlog Items missing the Product Owner can add the Backlog Item to the Team (Product) Backlog


Selected Team (Product) Backlog is well prepared for the Iteration (Sprint) Planning 2.

Checklist – Iteration (Sprint) Planning 2


  • Participants are invited: Scrum Master, the Team members and Product Owner. At a minimum the Product Owner has to be reachable for questions.
  • The Selected Team (Product) Backlog - the Iteration (Sprint) Backlog is accessible for the task planning (Optional)
  • Material for the planning such as a whiteboard, pin board, sticky notes, access to tools, etc.


  • Team Members determine team capacity. An approach to do this is (assuming a 2 week Iteration (Sprint)):
    • Scrum Master leads
    • Count days available for each person
    • Do not count Scrum Master, Product Owner
    • Breakdown to hours, count 6 hours per day
    • Remove other impacts
    • Ask “What else” – vacation, moves, other work
    • Understand who is not 100% on team and adjust
    • Sum total hours available to team in next 9 working days
    • Determine percentage of “unplanned” work
 and breakdown so that you have “hours available for planning purposes” and “hours available for ‘planned unplanned’ proposes.
  • Team members find tasks for each Backlog Item
    • Make sure that every piece of work is taken into account to reach Definition of Done – Coding, Testing, etc – to get to a “potentially shippable” state.
  • If a task effort is bigger than 8 hours, try to split the task into smaller tasks, so the team can understand during the Sprint whether real progress is being made on the commitment.
  • If the Team believes that the resultant Iteration (Sprint) Backlog is too large, work with the Product Owner to remove low priority Backlog Items
  • If the team believes that the Iteration (Sprint) Backlog is too small, work with the Product Owner to bring in additional Product Backlog items from the Product Backlog
  • The team commits to the Iteration (Sprint) Goal. An approach to make this concrete is to have the Product Owner ask “Fist of five vote – how likely do you think that you’ll be able to make the commitment?”


Iteration (Sprint) Goal and Iteration (Sprint) Backlog are visible to everyone within the organization. The tasks in the Sprint Backlog are accessible to all team members.

Want to Know More?

/home/hpsamios/ · Last modified: 2021/04/28 11:35 by hans