Sprint Pre Planning – Useful?

sprint pre planning
sprint pre planning

In some international companies, we can find a special practice: sprint pre planning! Let’s see in this article what is this practice, what are its goals and if it’s really useful. This practice doesn’t exist in the french-speaking countries (or area). The comparaison could be very interesting.

Agility is not the same everywhere! And according to the culture, some practices exist in some countries but not in others. And sometime it’s interesting to talk about these particular practices because they can surprise if some countries where the agile culture is different. It’s exactly for this same reason that the french blog and this english blog don’t treat about the same topics.

Sprint pre planning

The concept of sprint pre planning is to do 3 different sessions during the sprint to prepare the next sprint. Generally we need to have between 2 and 4 weeks sprint.

sprint pre planning during a sprint
sprint pre planning during a sprint

Let’s see now which people participate at each session and what is the work to do inside.

Session 1

The product owner, technical architects and the stakeholders will do this first session together. All the stakeholders will bring their needs and architects will bring the technical requirements for this first session.

According to the stakeholders goals, they will decide together what is the plan for the next sprint! Then they will order all the requests.

Session 2

The product owner and the development team will do this second sessions together. The development team will validate or not all the request. They will use the colored flags to give an important information:

  • red: this request for the moment seems complicated to develop; the team need more information to really have the capacity to do this request.
  • orange: the team think it’s possible to do this request but they need to have more information to keep this request during the next sprint planning
  • green: the development team is sure that it’s possible to develop this request with the informations provided

The product owner will treat the demands of the development team. In the red case, the request will delay at least one sprint.

Session 3

The product owner, technical architects and the stakeholders will do this third session together. The goal is to answer at the development team demands according the priority to the orange flag. If they can treat the red flag, they can do… But it’s not a mandatory because the topic will come back during the next sprint.

Why the sprint pre planning doesn’t exist in french-speaking area?

The feeling for this kind of practices is: “too much process for nothing”… Why do this work? The stakeholders have to go in the sprint review to share with all the scrum team and finally prepare the next sprint.

In France for example, the team add in 90% of case, a special ceremony to do the product backlog refinement… It’s similar with the second session even if the team estimate and help the product owner to order the product backlog inside. So the mix between “product backlog refinement” and a real “sprint review” give the same result… And maybe it’s more agile.

And the concept to have architects really disappears… Indeed, the scrum concept to say that the development team must have all the competencies to do the product is increasingly applied. So for french people for example, the concept of sprint pre planning seemed really old school and anti-agile. I’m talking about France but it’s the same impression in some english-speaking countries.

Useful link around sprint pre planning: product backlog refinement (in french)

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About Judicaël Paquet 182 Articles
Judicaël Paquet (agile coach and senior devops) My activities in France and Switzerland: - agile transformation architect - customized agile training - sensitization and manager coaching - agile maturity audits and situations - agile coaching (teams, orga, product owner, scrum master, agile coach) Specialties: scrum, kanban, management 3.0, scalability, lean startup, agile method.

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