The main agenda of Sprint Planning is to make sprint execution more effective.
To provide right preconditions, one need to take following actions during the sprint preplanning:
- Clarify the Acceptance Criteria. The criteria, that a story must qualify to be marked as "Done".
- Provide the estimate of the user stories, to help Product Owner to identify the priorities in the backlog.
- Break down high priority User Stories into chunks that will fit for a sprint.
- Consider dependency on the key resources in the team and workload for each team.
A good user story is independent, it does not have any dependency.
There are 3 types of dependencies:
- Simple Dependency
- External Dependency
- Intertwined Dependency
Simple dependencies happen when one user story depends on another one. One way to remove this unidirectional dependency is to combine or split the user stories differently. When this is not possible, the alternative is to set a higher priority for the standalone user stories with the greatest number of dependencies than their dependents.
External dependencies occur when a story is dependent on outside teams. In this case, the teams need to negotiate integration and delivery dates and adjust the priorities of the stories. The team working on the dependent story should not commit to completing the dependent story within a Sprint until the other team delivers their user story.
These dependencies are when two or more user stories are co-dependent, and each cannot complete without the other. Ideally, the team should look for ways to break all the connections or look for ways to turn the intertwined dependencies into simple dependencies instead. Dealing with these dependencies across Scrum Teams is a critical responsibility of the PO(Product Owner) working with the Scrum Teams.
Product Owners and the Scrum development team need to focus their attention on the high priority stories for the current release. That's why Sprint Preplanning is an important step for effective Sprint planning.