Steps: Plan the Sprint


  1. Prepare:
    1. Get Input from Anyone Missing the Meeting
    2. Calculate Base Capacity
  2. Run Meeting:
    1. Set Individual Capacities and Review Backlog
    2. Build the Plan
    3. Complete the Plan


Get Input from Anyone Missing the Meeting

Facilitator, if someone will miss the Planning Ceremony, but be available most of the sprint:

  1. Get the person’s individual capacity.
  2. Review the backlog with them and ask which stories the person wants to work on.

Details: “Speak Up for Missing Persons.”

Calculate Base Capacity


  1. Multiply the number of working days in each sprint by the team’s labor hours per day.
    Tip: Use six hours per day until you are hitting the 100% delivery standard most sprints and completing stories in the backlog, then consider raising the number as high as seven.
  2. Subtract your labor hours number for each organizational holiday in the next sprint.
    Example: If there are two national holidays next sprint and you use six-hour days, subtract 12 hours.
  3. Subtract hours lost to organizational meetings or events beyond the team’s control.
  4. Record the information where you can show it to the team during the Planning Ceremony.

Details: “Establish Capacities.”

Run Meeting

Set Individual Capacities and Review Backlog

Facilitator, in the Planning Ceremony:

  1. Share the base capacity and record each member’s individual capacity commitment in your capacity tool.
    Details: “Include Time for the Individual.”
  2. Negotiate a Sprint Goal.
    Details: “Count on Success.”
  3. If there are ungroomed stories within the range of stories you might move into the sprint, review the story order to see if they can be moved below the Sprint Goal number (your velocity, unless the team has a reason to change it).
  4. Review any blocked stories in that range to see if they are still blocked, and remove the blocks if not.
    Details: “Check the Blockers.”
  5. Continue to the next set.

Build the Plan

  1. Open the highest-ranked, unblocked story and:
    1. Revise the story card as needed.
    2. Revise, add, and delete tasks as needed.
    3. Have members volunteer for tasks.
    4. Allow each volunteer to provide a labor-hour estimate for each task.
    5. Allow discussion among the team about the task choices and estimates, but give volunteers the final say on each.
    6. If someone is missing per the first step set above, under “Prepare”:
      1. Relay the person’s information to the team at the relevant points in the meeting.
      2. Allow the team to “volunteer” the person for tasks and enter estimates.
        Details: “Assign and Estimate Tasks.”
  2. Repeat Step 1 for two more unblocked stories, working from the top down.
  3. Compare the total hours committed by each member to their capacities in your capacity tool, and if anyone is over capacity, try these solutions in this order:
    1. Ask others to take tasks from that person, on any story in the Sprint Plan.
    2. Remove the new story from the Sprint Plan.
    3. If the person is over by a small amount, ask if they can commit more time and raise their capacity if so.
      Warning: Do not allow them to reduce the estimate without very good reasons.
      Details: “Watch the Hours Go By.”
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 until any of the following occurs:
    • You meet the sprint story count goal, or
    • Everyone is over 80% of their capacity, or
    • No backlog stories can be done solely by people with capacity left.
  5. If the story count exceeds the Sprint Goal, discuss whether that is okay and remove a story if not.
    Details: “Remember the Sprint Goal.”
  6. Continue to the next set.

Complete the Plan

  1. Confirm each team member’s promise to try to complete the stories in the Sprint Plan during this sprint.
    Details: “Make a Formal Promise.”
  2. If a member was out, on their first day back, ask them to check their tasks and make changes if desired, including trading with another member.
    Details: “Speak Up for Missing Persons.”
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