The Planning

Wait! What?
Planning in agile? Aren't you guys all about not planning?
I knew it all along, Waterfall was right and this was just a fad.

Ok, ok. Old down your horses.
Agile doesn’t mean anarchy, and there is nothing that says that planning is evil and cannot be done. Everything has its place.

What we do know and say is that planning is not all. If something changes you need to open to adapt to the change. If something doesn’t make sense anymore to do, don’t do it. Don’t just follow a plan blindly.

When it comes to productivity and effectiveness I have a soft spot for U.S president Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Plans Are Worthless, But Planning Is Everything.

So what happens during the planning of the scrum sprint?

The Goal

The Product Owner should present the goal to the team. What he/she wants to achieve during the next iteration.
The team, together with the P.O. look at the backlog and try to find all the items needed to achieve this goal.

If they can pull all of them in, super. If not, they need to figure out if the goal needs to be adapted, or the items needs to be changed.
If there is extra space in the sprint, and the team feels comfortable pulling other items in, this is the time. Could be some smaller items, or some technical improvements.
One thing every team should make sure they do is, the improvement from the retrospective should be added to the sprint. This way we can continuously improve the way we work.

The Plan

After agreeing on the goal and comfortably pulling in the items to achieve it, it is time for the team to plan.

This step is crucial for the team.

Who will pick up what first?
Any ideas on how we should do something?
Should we do something first before doing another item? It could help us later in the sprint.
Did we mess up during the first part and figure out now that we have a blocker? Better to know sooner than later, something it can happen.

In my experience, the plan is usually disregarded in most teams. There are several reasons why this could happen, but one of them is that the team will self organise outside of the meeting.

Plans are of little importance, but planning is essential.

Winston Churchill



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