Sprint Planning


Welcome to this recipe for how to do Sprint Planning in Scrum! Just like cooking a delicious meal, Sprint Planning requires preparation, collaboration, and attention to detail. In this recipe, we will walk you through the process of planning a successful sprint, from working with the Product Backlog to setting the goal and defining tasks. With this recipe, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge and skills to lead your team through a successful Sprint Planning session. So, let’s get started and cook up a sprint plan that will satisfy all your stakeholders’ appetites!


  • 1 Scrum Master
  • 1 Development Team
  • 1 Product Owner
  • 1 planning board. The board should be in a tool (digital or physical like a whiteboard) that is visible and can be updated, it shows the Product Backlog Items and any already defined tasks.
  • 1 refined Product Backlog
  • Optional: 1 high-level plan (LINK TO S4HW)


  • Product Backlog refinement is strongly recommended as preparation for Sprint Planning. Backlog refinement increases effectiveness and quality of the time spent in Sprint Planning.
  • The Product Owner should have a draft proposal of the prioritised Product Backlog Items to be worked on in the Sprint that can be discussed in Planning. Product Backlog refinement supports this.
  • Draft sprint goal(s) are good to have in advance of Sprint Planning. Draft sprint goals can often be created as an output of the Sprint Review.

Cooking method

Part 1: Review the high-level plan and define the sprint backlog

  1. If using a high-level plan (you can learn more here): Begin by reviewing it and identifying potential risks that could impact the Sprint Planning process. This helps ensure the whole team is aligned before you really get cooking!
  2. The Product Owner presents the draft prioritized Product Backlog to the team. Use this to start discussing; all team members participate in actively sharing their views on content, priorities, and acceptance criteria for each backlog item. The Scrum Master facilitates the discussion to refine acceptance criteria with the Product Owner, laying the foundations for high-quality, valuable work in the upcoming sprint.
  3. Together, the Scrum Team formulates a sprint goal. The goal is the top priority for the sprint and provides clear direction and focus for the team.

Part 2: Task planning to meet acceptance criteria

  1. With the sprint goal in mind, the Development Team chops down the Product Backlog Items into smaller, more manageable tasks. They also figure out how to meet each acceptance criteria and agree on an estimate for each task.
  2. Every agreed task should be added to the pot (Sprint Backlog!)
  3. Don’t fill the pot to the brim otherwise it will boil over! It’s important to avoid overloading the team’s capacity, so only plan tasks until the total estimate reaches around 80% of the teams available capacity for this sprint. This ensures the team has enough time to complete the tasks to the best of their ability.
  4. Any external dependencies are noted down in an action list, along with the responsible team members, to ensure that they are addressed appropriately.

Cooking Tips

Limit cooking time to 2 hours for the number of weeks a sprint lasts e.g. 4h for a 2 week sprint.

Check your ingredients are still fresh before cooking; the Product Backlog should be checked and refined beforehand for an effective Sprint Planning!

The input Product Backlog Items (PBIs) to be worked on in the sprint need to be presented as a draft proposal, so that the full team is invited to come with input.

Spend enough time on the alignment (defining and refining) of acceptance criteria with the team, as this is a handshake between the Product Owner and the team on what should be achieved in the coming sprint.

In task planning it is important that those who contributed to defining each PBI are planning together, in order not to miss tasks and to clarify criteria as needed.

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