How Long Should Teams Spend in Sprint Planning?

This is the third blog post in the "How Much Time Should Each Scrum Practice and Meeting Take" series. This posting focuses on sprint planning.

Sprint planning is a recurring, just-in-time activity that takes place at the beginning of each sprint. The purpose of sprint planning is to determine the most important subset of product backlog items to build in the next sprint. During sprint planning, the product owner and development team agree on a sprint goal that defines what the upcoming sprint is supposed to achieve. Using this goal, the development team reviews the product backlog and determines the high-priority items that the team can realistically accomplish in the upcoming sprint while working at a sustainable pace.

How long should the sprint planning meeting last?

How much time teams should budget for the sprint planning meeting

The general rule is that sprint planning should take no more than two hours per week of sprint duration. The following table illustrates the rule.

How long your sprint planning meeting lasts depends on the length of your sprint

How long your sprint planning meeting lasts depends on the length of your sprint

The no-more-than-two-hours-per-week-of-sprint-duration rule is a fine starting point for newly formed teams that are gaining experience with Scrum. My experience is that experienced teams can perform sprint planning faster (often in half of time specified in the table). Also, in practice, my experience suggests that the sprint-planning-duration scale is not strictly linear. For example, I have seen newly formed Scrum teams complete sprint planning is 45 minutes or less for a one-week sprint.

If you want to read more about sprint planning, please have a look at Chapter 19 the Essential Scrum book.

The previous post in this series is: "What Is Product Backlog Grooming (Refinement) and How Long Should It Take?"

The next post in this series is: "Daily Scrum Meeting: What? Why? How Long?"