Sprint Planning – Bad Smell’s
Mountain Goat offers an overview of the aims of the sprint planning meeting. Without wanting to re-iterate what Mountain Goat and others have already written, I’ll take a different slant, and provide a view on things that might go wrong when sprints are planned, and stories are estimated.
“Sprint Goal” is probably the first item that is unfortunately sometimes glossed over in the “charge” to estimate the sprint backlog. Unfortunately, without clear articulation of the goal, there is unfortunately “opportunity” for scope creep, which in itself is a debated topic of scrum. My view is that scope creep is always going to happen, but it need to be controlled so that a sprint delivers what it set out to deliver based on the sprint planning, as aligned by the sprint goal. Effectively the spring goal could be though of as a constrain on the spring backlog.
Anyway, getting back to spring goal. Failure to provide a goal, is like failing to offer a light at the end of a tunnel. My advice is to ensure the sprint goal is clear to all at the start, and end of the sprint planning session.
Estimation. Be very clear on the assumptions made when estimating stories. Implicit assumption are often one of the reason for a delta in estimates between people when using planning poker cards. Additionally, if grooming backlog activities occur (one hopes they do) , consider the correlation between game planning and backlog grooming