Sprint Planning myth #2 – Fill in the sprint capacity

Our velocity was 40 Story Points last sprint so we must put at least 40 Story Points in this one.

This is how most Sprint planning events start for most of the Scrum teams. Sprints are planned on capacity instead of a goal.

If you are a Scrum Master or a Product Owner that does this, my next statement may shock you.

You don’t need to fill in the sprint “capacity” for the whole sprint at the sprint Planning.

It would be ideal to have a plan for the full Sprint, don’t get me wrong. If you have one, good for you, you are at a high maturity level with your teams. But this is not the case for a lot of teams.

Most teams have very volatile backlogs, either because they are in a new market or new business, or because they are just a new team. And again, this is also OK. The purpose is to develop the most valuable thing, not to follow blindly a plan.

So don’t distress. Filling in the full sprint capacity is just a myth.

As new work is required, the Development Team adds it to the Sprint Backlog (…) When elements of the plan are deemed unnecessary, they are removed.

https://scrumguides.org/scrum-guide.html#artifacts-sprintbacklog

Plan instead for the sprint goal. Have at least planned work for the first half of the sprint, the rest, inspect and adapt as you go.

Story points per sprint are not a measure of progress. Working software is the only measure of progress

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