Iteration planning determines the work that the team commits to be completed in the upcoming iteration. This involves adjusting the predicted velocity and managing the number and priority of assigned, deferred, and/or new stories.
Successful planning requires someone, usually the team lead, to facilitate the planning event.
This practice describes how to prepare to facilitate an iteration planning meeting.
Why to Do This Practice
Planning an iteration involves a conversation between the product owner and the team, and possibly other stakeholders. Early on, these parties will have different perspectives and understanding of how the work is going to evolve. And, especially early on, they may not fully understand the planning process.
The job of the facilitator is to help all people involved to successfully talk with each other about the iteration, requirements, and agree on next steps. The facilitator is responsible for helping to realize the goals and objectives of the meeting.
Facilitation is a skill. Facilitation is the activity of helping a group of people to improve their effectiveness, addressing impediments and conflicts, creating a safe environment to identify and address issues as a group, and assisting with decision making processes.
The facilitator’s job is to do things like:
- Providing the structure of the planning meeting
- Drawing out ideas and opinions
- Writing and communicating on behalf of the team
- Acting as an occasional referee to direct (and possibly park) discussions
- Helping the team to keep to its process and helping them to revise it when needed
- Helping to achieve consensus on the expected outcomes
Who Does This Practice
Here are roles involved in this practice:
- The product owner is the usual sponsor of the iteration planning.
- The team lead is the usual facilitator for the iteration planning meeting. Usually, the team lead is the one to arrange the logistics of the meeting. The team lead is probably the one to document the guidance and insights gained in the meeting on behalf of the team.
What to Do
Make sure that input artifacts to iteration planning meeting are ready:
- The product owner’s prioritized backlog with highest-prioritized items refined to a degree that the team can take them on (meeting their definition-of-ready)
- Concerns and impediments
- The team's agreed up improvements as identified in retrospective.
Iteration planning meetings are normally held on the first day of the iteration, and facilitation of the meeting should be prepared a few days prior to ensure that the meeting will go smoothly.
The approach to facilitation requires:
- Be familiar with the approaches and objectives of the iteration planning meeting.
- Handle the logistics for room and materials. Schedule participants.
- Identify possible problems. Develop a good facilitation plan and review the facilitation tools that will be used.
- Gather and make visible in handouts or charts the data needed for the meeting (described in Inputs for the meeting).
- Keep the meeting running and focused. Manage the clock.
- Capture notes and insights and distribute to members after the meeting.
Disciplined Agile® Delivery (DAD) describes process goals to help with daily coordination:
The primary output of Iteration Planning facilitation is the facilitation plan including:
- Approaches to handling potential problems
- All participants informed about inputs to the actual iteration planning meeting
- Charts to be made
- Meeting logistics
When to Do This Practice
Planning for facilitation should be done at least a few days before the iteration planning meeting.
Facilitation is done during the meeting itself.
Here are some of the compelling reasons for this practice:
- Effective communication between all parties
- Good relationship with stakeholders
- Clear understanding of the next steps
- Establishing baseline expectations for future improvement