The Art of Planning A Sprint
When planning a sprint, many factors will influence what works best, particularly the experience of the team in self-organizing. Here are some guidelines that can help project leaders focus the planning effort — without taking it over — and a few techniques to engage everyone and establish a shared vision.
The Scrum framework clearly explains the mechanics of a sprint: a time-boxed effort of specific duration (generally about two weeks) in which a team will plan to elaborate, build and validate some amount of functionality. Unlike traditional projects, each sprint incorporates a cross-functional team, and produces usable functionality each iteration so that the team can measure progress and validate the product.
The relatively short period of time in a sprint reduces complexity to aid in the planning process, but it must still be planned. Properly planning a sprint is a major challenge that a project manager will confront on an agile project. In order for a project to maximize flexibility and adaptability, sprints must be laid out in a manner to encourage team members to self organize and adjust their work throughout the iteration. The requirement to have working product at the end of a short period of time also demands some schedule discipline and visibility into sprint progress. These are areas where a project manager can be of great value to the team.
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