Sprint planning is an essential component of any product manager’s job. It allows you to take a step back from the day-to-day grind and think about the big picture. What features need to be built? What is the most important thing to work on right now?

A good sprint planning session will result in a clear, actionable plan that everyone on the team can get behind. But all too often, sprint planning devolves into a heated debate about what should be included in the sprint. In this guide, we’ll share some tips on how to make your sprint planning sessions more effective.

Define the Goal of the Sprint

Before you even start planning, it’s important to take a step back and define the goal of the sprint. What are you trying to accomplish? This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s important to be clear about what you’re trying to achieve.

Are you trying to launch a new feature? Get feedback on a prototype? Ship a minimum viable product? Once you’ve defined the goal, you can start to think about what needs to be done to achieve it.

Get the Right People in the Room

Sprint planning is not the time to have a “team meeting.” You should only invite the people who are actually going to be doing the work. This usually includes the product manager, the development team, and anyone else who is directly involved in the sprint.

If you have a large team, it may make sense to break up into smaller groups. Each group can then plan their own sprint and come back together to share what they’ve been working on.

Set a Time Limit

Sprint planning can quickly turn into a marathon session if you’re not careful. To keep things on track, it’s important to set a time limit. Do you best to limit sessions to two hours or less.

If you find that you need more time, you can always schedule a follow-up meeting, but in general, you should try to keep things as concise as possible.

Write Down the User Stories

User stories are a key part of sprint planning. They help to define the work that needs to be done and ensure that everyone is on the same page.

Before the sprint planning session, the product manager should write down all of the user stories that need to be completed. These should be specific, measurable, and achievable.

During the sprint planning session, each user story should be discussed in detail. The development team should identify any risks or dependencies. And the product manager should make sure that the user story is properly prioritized.

Create a Task List

Once the user stories have been identified, it’s time to start creating a task list. This is where the rubber meets the road and the real work of the sprint begins.

The task list should be as specific as possible. Each task should be assigned to a specific person and have a due date. The goal is to make sure that everyone knows what they need to do and when it needs to be done.

Make a Commitment

At the end of the sprint planning session, it’s important to make a commitment. The product manager should commit to delivering the user stories and the development team should commit to completing the tasks.

This commitment should be made in writing, either in an email or in the project management tool. This will help to ensure that everyone is held accountable for their part of the sprint.

Sprint planning is an essential part of any product manager’s job. By following these tips, you can make sure that your sprint planning sessions are more effective and productive, but it doesn’t stop there, you’ll want to bookend the sprint with a Retrospective Meeting at the end.

Hold a Retrospective

At the end of the sprint, it’s important to hold a retrospective. This is a meeting where the team can discuss what went well and what could be improved.

The retrospective should be held as soon as possible after the sprint. This will help to ensure that lessons are learned and improvements are made.

Use this Sprint Retro Meeting Agenda Template in Topicflow. →