It’s incredibly valuable to be able to raise flags or fire flare guns as soon as something is at risk. VersionOne helps teams assess if their sprint is at risk before they’ve even committed.  Below are 4 steps to follow during the ‘HOW’ part of sprint planning to ensure the team comes up with a realistic plan:

(1) Create detailed tasks for each backlog item, assign hourly estimates and possibly an owner.

  • Sprint Planning > Detail Planning > Plan Backlog Item

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(2) Populate capacity for each individual on the team for the upcoming sprint.

  • Sprint Planning > Capacity Planning > Expand Team

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(3) Compare Detail Estimate to Capacity to see if the plan is realistic

  • Sprint Planning > Detail Planning
  • Ex: Team A’s velocity is 23 so Sprint 6 points being 22 is acceptable. The team’s capacity is 200 hours and all of the tasks and tests total 194, which is also acceptable.

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(4) Check to see if a particular member on the team is over or under capacity

  • Sprint Planning > Member Planning tab
  • Ex: Boris Tester is over-allocated. Therefore, on sprint planning day, the team is able to come up with a plan on how they can still finish their tasks. They notice that Danny Developer is under-allocated so he committed to help execute test cases to help Boris out.

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The commitment ceremony should be a recurring meeting following sprint planning where the team reviews their findings from Steps 3 and 4 and negotiates any changes to the plan to make sure they are setting themselves up for success. Once everyone is in agreement, the team commits to the Product Owner that they will finish the sprint as planned and the Product Owner commits to the team that the sprint backlog will not change. There’s nothing that seals the deal more than doing a team toast with a beverage of choice. Cheers to success!


Join the Discussion

    • Fredrik Wendt

      How do you propose a team models time spent pair programming in VersionOne?
      (Btw, I’m surprised to see the “commit to scope” ceremony is still alive and advocated within VersionOne.)

      • Susan Evans

        Tasks can have multiple owners and therefore both individuals in a pair can track actual effort applied toward the task. If the team is leveraging capacity planning where each individual enters their total hours available during the sprint, then the Detailed Estimate for tasks that are worked on in pairs will need to be doubled. Otherwise, they can use the concurrent hours for Detailed Estimate and To Do.

        Self-organizing teams that are successful at forecasting a sprint plan and meeting their sprint goal obviously does not need a commitment ceremony or the capacity planning feature in VersionOne for that matter. However, I’ve coached teams who struggled at self-organizing and meeting their sprint goal and therefore I found that invoking a sprint ceremony for a while helped increase collaboration during planning as well as during the sprint.

        Thank you for your comment!
        Susan Evans

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