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5 Things You Need To Know About The Scaled Agile Framework

A good software is essential to a large company. From storing a customer database to details about employees and their work, a software is a crucial part of a business. Any efficient software is based on a solid framework. A framework allows you to use tried and tested methods to build a dependable software that can benefit your company. SAFe® is one such framework. But what exactly is SAFe®? Let’s find out. 1. What It Stands For ‘Scaled Agile Framework’ is a pretty long name. That’s why the framework is commonly referred to as ‘SAFe®’. 2. What It Actually Is So what is SAFe®? SAFe® is an Agile software development framework. Agile software development is when there’s a set of principles set for software development. Under these principles, solutions and requirements come forth through the collaborative effort of cross-functional, self-organising cross-functional teams. Agile software development promotes a variety of things. It encourages flexible and rapid response to change, continuous improvement, early delivery, evolutionary development, and adaptive planning. These principles back up the continuing evolution of various software development methods. SAFe® was designed by Scaled Agile, Inc. It is a knowledge base that’s freely-revealed. This means that it contains integrated patterns for the enterprise-scale of Lean-Agile development. Since it’s modular and scalable, it allows an organisation to apply SAFe® in a way that fits into the needs of company. 3. How It Helps Us So what does this complicated-sounding framework do? SAFe® synchronises the delivery, collaboration, and alignment of huge numbers of agile teams. It supports both systems development and software development, and although this may not sound like such a big feat, SAFe® supports them from the scale of just under a hundred practitioners to the most complicated cyber-physical systems and biggest software solutions. There are systems that call for over thousands and thousands of people to maintain and create them. SAFe® focuses on helping consumers solve even their most challenging scaling problems. The framework borrows the three primary bodies of knowledge (knowledge in information systems, that is): systems thinking, Lean product development, and Agile development. 4. There’s A Website Dedicated To It Yes, there’s a website solely dedicated to the Scaled Agile Framework. This website gives users a thorough and comprehensive guide to the framework. It also informs consumers or potential buyers on how scaling development can be implemented across all levels of a business or enterprise. For novices to software framework, the website provides something known as ‘SAFe® Big Picture’. The Big Picture is nothing more than a visual that gives you an overview of the framework. It’s relatively straightforward to use, too. There are many icons, each of which is easily selectable. These icons navigate the learner to a relevant article that provides a thorough understanding on the topic. It also provides links to any further information you might need, along with links to related articles. 5. What It’s Based On Like any solid framework, SAFe® is based on a set of principles. The framework is based on nine principles, to be exact, all of which are immutable. In software terms, this means that they cannot be modified once they’re created. The principles are also based on underlying Agile and Lean principles. These principles are support important, since they’re the fundamental truths and economic foundations that make SAFe® as effective as it is. The nine SAFe® principles are: 1. Take an economic view 2. Apply systems thinking 3. Assume variability; preserve options 4. Build incrementally with fast, integrated learning cycles 5. Base milestones on objective evaluation of working systems 6. Visualize and limit WIP, reduce batch sizes, and manage queue lengths 7. Apply cadence (timing), synchronize with cross-domain planning 8. Unlock the intrinsic motivation of knowledge workers 9. Decentralize decision-making SAFe®, when used correctly, is a highly effective tool. It can help you or your company develop a suitable software that can greatly enhance performance.

5 Things You Need To Know About The Scaled Agile Framework

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5 Things You Need To Know About The Scaled Agile Framework

A good software is essential to a large company. From storing a customer database to details about employees and their work, a software is a crucial part of a business.

Any efficient software is based on a solid framework. A framework allows you to use tried and tested methods to build a dependable software that can benefit your company. SAFe® is one such framework. But what exactly is SAFe®? Let’s find out.

1. What It Stands For

‘Scaled Agile Framework’ is a pretty long name. That’s why the framework is commonly referred to as ‘SAFe®’.

2. What It Actually Is

So what is SAFe®?

SAFe® is an Agile software development framework. Agile software development is when there’s a set of principles set for software development. Under these principles, solutions and requirements come forth through the collaborative effort of cross-functional, self-organising cross-functional teams.

Agile software development promotes a variety of things. It encourages flexible and rapid response to change, continuous improvement, early delivery, evolutionary development, and adaptive planning. These principles back up the continuing evolution of various software development methods.

SAFe® was designed by Scaled Agile, Inc. It is a knowledge base that’s freely-revealed. This means that it contains integrated patterns for the enterprise-scale of Lean-Agile development. Since it’s modular and scalable, it allows an organisation to apply SAFe® in a way that fits into the needs of company.

3. How It Helps Us

So what does this complicated-sounding framework do?

SAFe® synchronises the delivery, collaboration, and alignment of huge numbers of agile teams. It supports both systems development and software development, and although this may not sound like such a big feat, SAFe® supports them from the scale of just under a hundred practitioners to the most complicated cyber-physical systems and biggest software solutions. There are systems that call for over thousands and thousands of people to maintain and create them.

SAFe® focuses on helping consumers solve even their most challenging scaling problems.

The framework borrows the three primary bodies of knowledge (knowledge in information systems, that is): systems thinking, Lean product development, and Agile development.

4. There’s A Website Dedicated To It

Yes, there’s a website solely dedicated to the Scaled Agile Framework. This website gives users a thorough and comprehensive guide to the framework. It also informs consumers or potential buyers on how scaling development can be implemented across all levels of a business or enterprise.

For novices to software framework, the website provides something known as ‘SAFe® Big Picture’. The Big Picture is nothing more than a visual that gives you an overview of the framework. It’s relatively straightforward to use, too. There are many icons, each of which is easily selectable. These icons navigate the learner to a relevant article that provides a thorough understanding on the topic. It also provides links to any further information you might need, along with links to related articles.

5. What It’s Based On

Like any solid framework, SAFe® is based on a set of principles. The framework is based on nine principles, to be exact, all of which are immutable. In software terms, this means that they cannot be modified once they’re created. The principles are also based on underlying Agile and Lean principles.

These principles are support important, since they’re the fundamental truths and economic foundations that make SAFe® as effective as it is. The nine SAFe® principles are:

1. Take an economic view
2. Apply systems thinking
3. Assume variability; preserve options
4. Build incrementally with fast, integrated learning cycles
5. Base milestones on objective evaluation of working systems
6. Visualize and limit WIP, reduce batch sizes, and manage queue lengths
7. Apply cadence (timing), synchronize with cross-domain planning
8. Unlock the intrinsic motivation of knowledge workers
9. Decentralize decision-making

SAFe®, when used correctly, is a highly effective tool. It can help you or your company develop a suitable software that can greatly enhance performance.

KnowledgeHut

KnowledgeHut

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KnowledgeHut is an outcome-focused global ed-tech company. We help organizations and professionals unlock excellence through skills development. We offer training solutions under the people and process, data science, full-stack development, cybersecurity, future technologies and digital transformation verticals.
Website : https://www.knowledgehut.com

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1 comments

Armanda Mew 02 Feb 2017

Very interesting points you have marked.

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Differences Between Certified SAFe® Agilist(SA) vs Certified SAFe® Practitioner(SP)

Business Agility can be defined as the ability to compete and thrive in the digital age by quickly responding to market changes and emerging opportunities with innovative, digitally enabled business solutions. As organizations strive to achieve business agility, they find they are quickly outgrowing small-team Agile and need to decide on an approach to scale to the enterprise. Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe®) for Lean Enterprises is a knowledge base of proven, integrated principles, practices, and competencies for achieving business agility using Lean, Agile, and DevOps. It has several levels to which one can scale from Essential to Full SAFe®.Due to its scalability and its number of roles and ceremonies, companies are increasingly expecting team members to not only be trained in SAFe® but also become certified. Since SAFe® is the most popular form of Scaled Agile, it is wise to consider becoming certified in this framework. This article will compare and contrast two certification - Certified SAFe® Agilist (SA) vs Certified SAFe® Practitioner (SP). Please note that you cannot ‘test out’ for either of these certifications but must attend classes.Certified SAFe® AgilistThis is the certification that I acquired when I first started venturing into SAFe®. My certificate says “A Certified SAFe® 5 Agilist (SA) is a SAFe® enterprise leadership professional who is part of a Lean-Agile transformation. Key areas of competency include the application of Lean-Agile principles, execution and release of value through Agile Release Trains (ARTs) and building an Agile portfolio with Lean-Agile budgeting.” So, while it is a very good entry point and covers SAFe® thoroughly, there is no specific prescribed role other than ‘leadership’ and being part of the team, especially one involved as part of a Lean-Agile transformation.PrerequisitesLeading SAFe® /SAFe® Agilist Certification Course; 5+ years’ experience in software development, testing, business analysis, product, or project management; experience in Scrum. Leading SAFe® is a two-day course. Prices vary but they tend to be less than $1,000 USD. Attendees discuss how to establish team and technical agility and organize and re-organize around the flow of value. There are also exercises for supporting a key ceremony called PI Planning. Students also begin to understand how to implement a Lean Portfolio Management function in their enterpriseKey areas of competencyApply SAFe® to scale Lean and Agile development in the enterprise Apply Lean-Agile Mindset and principles Plan and successfully execute Program Increments Execute and release value through Agile Release Trains Build an Agile portfolio with Lean-Agile budgeting Exam detailsIn the author’s experience, the exam is difficult but not as difficult as, for example, the Project Management Professional® exam. Some questions may be situational but overall, they want to ensure that you understand the framework and its underlying principles.  The exam can be taken any time after the class is completed but ideally should be taken within 30 days. It is a non-proctored, closed-book, multiple-choice exam which can be accessed on-line within the SAFe® Community Platform.  Candidates have 90 minutes (1.5 hours) to complete the exam. There are 45 questions and passing score is 77% or 35 correct. Currently the exam is only provided in English. The first exam attempt is included as part of the course registration fee if the exam is taken within 30 days of course completion. Each retake attempt costs $50 USD.  Retake policy – Second attempt on exam (first retake) can be done immediately after the first attempt. The third attempt requires a 10-day waiting period. The fourth attempt requires a 30-day waiting period. (It is not unusual for companies providing such exams to impose longer waiting periods if you fail. They want to give you more time to study.) Sample questionSeveral sample questions are provided online by Scaled Agile Framework. This is a typical SA question from their pool: What does SAFe® Principle #3, "Assume variability; preserve options," enable? Specification traceability Better economic results Stronger Definition of Done Up front design of systems The answer is ‘Better economic results.’ Exam study materialsCourse materials – The course materials are an essential artifact from the course and can be downloaded from the SAFe® Community Platform. Study guide – This guide details the job role and all resources related to the exam, including a detailed reading list. Access is available through the Learning Plan in the SAFe® Community Platform upon course completion. Practice test – The practice test is designed to be predictive of success on the certification exam and it has the same number of questions, level of difficulty, and time duration. It is part of the Learning Plan in the SAFe® Community Platform and can be taken an unlimited number of times at no cost. This is not the actual exam and passing it does not guarantee success on the certification exam. Sample Questions – A web-enabled, flashcard style version of the sample questions can be found online and in the study guideWhat you getCertification includes: Certified SAFe® Agilist PDF certificate. Certified SAFe® Agilist digital badge to promote your accomplishment online. One-year membership to the SAFe® Community Platform, which includes access to the SA Community of Practice. Access to Meetup groups and events that connect you with other SAFe® certified professionals. A variety of learning resources to support you during your SAFe® journey. Certified SAFe® Practitioner (SP)The SA certificate is not designed for any specific role but is more foundational. The SP certificate provides the skills needed to become a high-performing team member on an Agile Release Train (ART) and collaborate with other teams. As with the SA certification, you must first attend a two-day course. You cannot ‘test out.’ Certification expires one year from the date it is earned.  Attendees also learn how to write user stories, plan and execute Iterations, and experience a PI Planning event. Attendees learn about the Continuous Delivery Pipeline, the importance of a DevOps culture, how to effectively integrate with other teams on the ART, and what it takes to continuously improve. Key areas of competencyExplain SAFe® Agile Principles Plan Iterations Plan Program Increments Execute Iterations and demonstrate value Improve Agile Release Train processes Integrate and work with other teams on the Agile Release Train Perform as a member of an Agile Team on an Agile Release Train Prerequisites:SAFE® For Teams two-day course; familiarity with Scrum, Kanban, and XP; familiarity with Agile concepts and principles; working knowledge of software or hardware development processesExam detailsThe exam can be taken any time after the class is completed but ideally should be taken within 30 days. It is a non-proctored, closed-book, multiple-choice exam. It can be accessed on-line within the SAFe® Community Platform.  Candidates have 90 minutes (1.5 hours) to complete the exam. There are 45 questions and passing score is 77% or 35 correct. Currently the exam is only provided in English. The first exam attempt is included as part of the course registration fee if the exam is taken within 30 days of course completion. Each retake attempt costs $50.  Retake policy – The second attempt on exam (first retake) can be done immediately after first attempt. The third attempt requires a 10-day waiting period. The fourth attempt requires a 30-day waiting period. Sample questionSeveral sample questions are provided online by Scaled Agile Framework. This is a typical SA question In SAFe®, which two items belong in the Team Backlog? (Choose two.)   User Stories Enabler Features Epics Spikes Tasks The answer is user stories and spikes. A spike’s purpose is to gain the knowledge necessary to reduce the risk of a technical approach, better understand a requirement, or increase the reliability of a story estimate.Exam study materialsCourse materials – The course materials are an essential artifact from the course and can be downloaded from the SAFe® Community Platform. Study guide – This guide details the job role and all resources related to the exam, including a detailed reading list. Access is available through the Learning Plan in the SAFe® Community Platform upon course completion. Practice test – The practice test is designed to be predictive of success on the certification exam and it has the same number of questions, level of difficulty, and time duration. It is part of the Learning Plan in the SAFe® Community Platform and can be taken an unlimited number of times at no cost. This is not the actual exam and passing it does not guarantee success on the certification exam. Sample Questions – A web-enabled, flashcard style version of the sample questions can be found online and in the study guide. What you getBecoming a Certified SAFe® Practitioner (SP) is an important step towards becoming part of a SAFe® team. Certification includes:  Certified SAFe® Practitioner PDF certificate Certified SAFe® Practitioner digital badge to promote your accomplishment online One-year membership to the SAFe® Community Platform, which includes access to the SP Community of Practice Access to Meetup groups and events that connect you with other certified SAFe® professionals A variety of learning resources to support you.Which certification should I choose?There is no one ‘right’ answer to this. Not all students are the same. When the time came to learn more about SAFE®, I asked myself the same question. Since I wasn’t seeking a specific role within a SAFe® team but was trying to attain a broader understanding of the framework, the SA certificate was sufficient, at least as an entry point. I found it gave me an excellent overview of the framework and I would feel poised to work in a SAFE® environment. However, if your goal is to be an active part of a team, it would appear that the SP certification might be the better choice as that is its primary focus.  Maintaining certificationYou can no longer renew your certification on an individual level. As of January 2021, Scaled Agile has moved to a membership model for the SAFe® Community Platform. With this transition you will now be able to renew your membership at one of three tiers, two of which will include a bundle renewal of all your SAFe® certifications. If you don’t need or want to include renewal of your certifications, you have the option to simply renew your membership to continue access to all the assets, tools, and resources to help you grow as a SAFe® professional.  The three Membership tiers are:SAFe® Program Consultant Membership ($895/year) - For members who currently hold SPC or SPCT certifications. Renews all certifications, provides access to all SAFe® content, and enables SPCs/SPCTs to train others to lead a Lean-Agile transformation. Certified SAFe® Membership ($295/year) - For members who currently hold one or more certifications, and who may benefit from a bundled pricing approach. Renews all certifications except SPC and/or SPCT, provides access to basic and some advanced content and continued access to course learnings and assets. Individual SAFe® Membership ($195/year) - For those who don’t seek certification but still benefit from the valuable content on the SAFe® Community Platform. No certification renewals included. Comparison tableSASPLearners are in these rolesCEO, Project Manager, Scrum Master, Team Lead, Release Train Engineer, Product OwnerProject Manager, Scrum Master, Team Lead, Release Train Engineer, Product Owner, Consultant, Agile Coach, Business AnalystTopics coveredThriving in the Digital Age with Business AgilityBecoming a Lean-Agile LeaderEstablishing Team and Technical AgilityBuilding Solutions with Agile Product DeliveryExploring Lean Portfolio ManagementLeading the ChangeIntroducing the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe®)Building an Agile TeamPlanning the IterationExecuting the IterationExecuting the Program IncrementPracticing SAFe®What attendees getAttendee workbookPreparation and eligibility to take the SAFe® 5 Agilist (SA) examOne-year membership to the SAFe® Community PlatformAttendee workbookPreparation and eligibility to take the SAFe® 5 Practitioner (SP) examOne-year membership to the SAFe® Community PlatformPrerequisitesHighly recommended: 5+ years’ experience in software development, testing, business analysis, product, or project managementExperience in ScrumHighly recommended: Familiarity with Agile concepts and principlesAwareness of Scrum, Kanban, and XPWorking knowledge of software and hardware development processesExam detailsCompletion of this course gives you access to the exam and all related study materials as part of your Learning Plan in the SAFe® Community Platform.Completion of this course gives you access to the exam and all related study materials as part of your Learning Plan in the SAFe® Community Platform.Professional Development Units & Scrum Education UnitsConclusionThe Scaled Agile Framework is by far the leading approach towards scaling Agile. There is a variety of roles and certifications available. Both the SA and SP certificates will prepare you to enter the Scaled Agile world. It really depends on what you are looking to accomplish/learn from your course and what perspective you are learning from.To summarize, SA is a good foundational course if you are an individual new to SAFe® learning. SAFe® for Teams (SP) course is an intermediate level course that helps team members and SAFe® teams better understand how to work together to accomplish work and project goals. So, if you expect to be a member of a team involved in Release Trains and PI Planning, SP may be the logical starting point on your SAFe® journey. 
Differences Between Certified SAFe® Agilist(SA...

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The Ultimate Guide to Sprint Planning

The Scrum framework has been popular lately and several studies have provedthat the global share of Scrum is more than 50%. One of the reasons for the phenomenal success of Scrum lies in its ceremonies, one of its key pillars.  Scrum has three critical components that create the structure or a skeleton and provides a way of working to the teams and individual, namely, roles, artifacts, and ceremonies. Scrum has four different ceremonies to support Agile software delivery where the Sprint starts with planning and ends with the retrospective. Let us quickly talk about the four ceremonies and then we will start with our topic of the day and deep dive more into Sprint planning. Daily Scrum The event is intended to bring together everyone in the scrum team and talk about what the accomplished last, what is the plan for today and is there any impediment. This event can be categorized under daily planning and collaborative team effort to attain the scrum goal. Sprint planning This event occurs at the start of the Sprint where the team together decides on the Sprint backlog and gains consensus on the sprint goal. They also talk about the estimation, capacity, risk, dependencies, and the timeline. This event is facilitated by the scrum master and occurs once in every Sprint. Sprint review This is the second last event in the print where the team showcases the entire deliverable they have been working throughout this print. This is the time when the stakeholders look at the finished product and provide their feedback. The event provides an effective platform for a collaborative approach with the client towards software delivery. Sprint retrospective This is one of my favorite events in Scrum, though the ceremony looks simple, if done correctly, it can yield tremendous results. It provides the team with a chance to pause and check which things are working, what is not, and how can they improve moving forward. Scrum ceremoniesEach of the ceremonies can be elaborated more as they are deep and dense. This article serves as an in-depthguide on Sprint planning for Scrum practitioners. The Sprint Planning meeting The What Sprint planning can be thought of as a ‘green flag’ that gives a go-ahead to the train called “Sprint”. The purpose of this meeting is to provide the sprint goal and ‘how’ that can be delivered. This is the first meeting that takes place in a Sprint where the scrum team comes together to create the Sprint backlog within a “time-box”, this time-box depends on the iteration length, if the iteration is of two weeks, the time-box can be up to four hours for a team of seven to nine people.  During the Sprint planning meeting, the product owner describes the objective of the sprint and what product backlog items can be utilized to reach that objective. Consequently, the scrum team decides how to work on ‘how’ to get the goal achieved. The How The sprint planning meeting is divided into two parts, first part, constitutes discussion on the sprint backlog creation and the second part revolves around the capacity and estimation. The product owner must keep the product backlog stays in a healthy state, it is prioritized and has the right requirements for the team to work on. The team should also be aware of their capacity and velocity to make appropriate Sprint commitment. Spring Planning meeting agendaThe Who The spring planning meeting is attended by the product owner, the development team, and the scrum master. All three roles are mandatory to run this meeting.  The product owner defines the objective of the sprint and supports the development team with the product backlog. In turn, the development team talks about ‘how’ to deliver and the approach they could take. They can also inform the product owner if the requirement is not doable (at times, the requirements might not be technologically feasible, in such cases the team can discuss the same with the product owner). The Scrum Master takes up the facilitation of the event, they make sure the team sits with an effective ‘input’ and comes out with an efficient ‘output’. The Inputs The Product Backlog serves as the ‘Input’ for the Sprint Planning meeting. It provides the development team with the starting point as it contains the list of requirements for delivery. The Product Backlog is owned by the product owner and hence the responsibility of keeping it up-to-date falls within their purview. The team starts with the highest priority item in the list, clear doubts (if any) and add it up to the Sprint Backlog. To make proper sprint commitment, the team should know their capacity and velocity. The Outputs The sprint planning meeting intends to generate a sprint goal and backlog. The output also defines the ’how’ approach, which the team will take to reach its goal. The team must understand the value of this event, as this draws a path for sprint success. The Scrum Master can help the team and the product owner to come up with an effective plan through their facilitation skills.Input and output of the Sprint Planning MeetingHow do we prepare for the sprint planning meeting? As with other events, the sprint planning meeting has a set agenda and timebox which the team must follow diligently. A healthy backlog is a key to efficacious sprint planning, which means, the Product Owner always must maintain and keep the backlog updated. The team needs to be aware of the available capacity and the targeted velocity this helps in coming up with the correct commitment during the Sprint planning session. What is a backlog? A backlog is a list of requirements from the client to create the desired product. It contains new features, enhancements, bugs, Infrastructure changes, or any architectural requirement. Any work that is related to a product should be in the backlog.  Backlog items are placed in a prioritized list manner Every item in the backlog has an estimate it can either be a high-level estimate or the exact/close estimate, depending on where it falls in the list. Usually, the top few items in the bucket have more clarity, details, and close estimates as compared to the items down in the list. Determining velocity Velocity is unique for every team; no two teams can have the same velocity. Every organization has a different approach towards velocity, ideally, the teams should take an average of the last five sprints. The average formula works for the teams who have been in the system for long or they have spent at least eight to ten sprints as a team.  Usually, velocity-based planning is done with mature teams who are aware of the product and they are good at process. With new teams, the ideal approach relies on the completed stories vs accepted stories ratio. Determining capacity Capacity is determined by available working hours in the sprint timeline which also takes into consideration, the leaves, any holidays, and contingency hours (if required). Capacity directly impacts the output as a team and helps them during Sprint commitment.  Sprint Planning checklist While Agile development is more of a mindset than a methodology, checklists can help guidetheproduct owner, the development team, and the scrum master as they plan and execute sprints. Sprint planning preparation A few days out from the actual sprint planning meeting: Review product roadmap and vision.  Ask team members to update boards and focus on moving tickets to done.  Run sprint review and retrospective.  Groom product backlog: Make sure every user story has a clear priority, is fully formed, and up to date with context and estimates.  Choose sprint goal.  Create a sprint backlog of enough user stories to fill two sprints. Sprint planning meeting Ensure your entire team is present for the meeting.  Start video call for remote team members.  If needed, clean up old board(s) with team by checking status of open tickets.  Discuss spillovers: Should these be continued or dropped? Move any spill-over tasks into the right buckets.  Set the stage with product and market updates.  Define the sprint goal.  Create a “new sprint”. Discuss the goal and team’s capacity:  Is this realistic? If not, can the team lower the scope?  Worst case scenario the product owner needs to come up with a new sprint goal. A few days out from the actual sprint planning meeting: Discuss proposed sprint backlog: Let the team pick user stories and tasks that match the sprint goal and capacity.  Discuss the definition of “done”.  Break down each user story into individual tasks: Make sure each task has as much information as possible.  Ask whether the scope of work leaves time for unexpected issues.  Ask if the scope of work leaves space to tackle bugs and technical debt.  Move sprint backlog of decided-upon user stories and associated tasks into the sprint board.  Get verbal confirmation from the team that they know what to do.  Set up due dates and times for future scrum meetings.Here is a quick checklist to help you plan the Sprint Plan. You can modify and adapt as necessary.The outcome of the Sprint Planning meeting The planning meeting intends to come up with Sprint goal and sprint commitment which is in the form of Sprint backlog. This backlog contains a list of stories, bugs, enhancements, etc. as required by the product owner. The output of the Sprint planning meeting is also to define the approach, the task, and other activities required to achieve the Sprint goal.  Everything that needs to be done is part of the Sprint backlog, by the end of Sprint planning meeting the team should have a solid plan with the ownership This output is further shared with the stakeholders, management and within the team which not only helps in being transparent but it also supports the team to stay focused. How to get Sprint Planning right Scrum focuses on time boxing and hence Sprint planning also requires control over the time limit for the event. As per the industry standards, a sprint of two weeks should be time-boxed for a maximum of 4 hours. The scrum master is responsible for making sure the team sticks to the timing and helps them in coming up with the plan. Spend planning can be an exhaustive ceremony where the team brainstorms, discusses the requirements and ownership.  With great facilitation skills, the scrum master can ask the team to start with an item they know well and subsequently move forward. The team can utilize various estimation techniques to define a number or a story point for each requirement. They can use T-shirt sizing, poker planning, or any other technique they are comfortable with. For effective estimation, the team needs an environment that is transparent, trustworthy, and open to new ideas. This reminds us of the Scrum values and principles that form the foundation of the framework. Common reasons why Sprint Planning fails Multiple reasons can contribute to scrum planning failure. Let us look at some of the frequent cases: Uncooked backlog Most of the time the product backlog is not up to date and lacks prioritization. In such cases the team struggles in defining the Sprint goal, they face difficulties in defining the Sprint commitment due to lack of clarity and details. Unrealistic expectations Oftentimes teams are required to work on requirements that are not feasible, or the team faces some technological challenge. Over-commitment When the teams do not realize the capacity and their velocity and tend to over-commit, this leads to hurdles in delivery. Beyond Time-box Spending too much time in Sprint planning can also jeopardize the event, the team must follow the time-box, going over minute details is not required. Scrum is an empirical process, which means You do not have to plan everything upfront.   Quick tips for success Set a Goal The Product Owner should come up with a sprint goal and share it with the development team. The goal helps the team and staying focused throughout the sprint, they can also use baby scrum meeting to check if they are on track with the goal. Healthy product backlog If the product backlog is in the Good shape, and has stories in order of priority, the team can start pulling from the top. they can even plan a pre-planning meeting, which is also known as backlog grooming who defines the upcoming sprint backlog. Valuable meeting measures Everyone in the team should have the sprint planning meeting invite and if required it should contain the link to video conferencing in-case of a distributed team. The team should have the data on capacity and velocity, and they understand estimations and prioritization. They can use different colored stickies to represent backlog items for example stories can be represented with green and bugs can be presented with red. As per the discipline, the team should follow timeboxing strictly, they can finish early but to go beyond the time is not recommended.  Best practices in Sprint Planning To course a positive sprint, you need to be very prepared and have a solid understanding of what is practicable to shape with the team you have within the timebox. This is the reason why a sprint planning session is so vital for placing the foundation for an agile development project. Let us touch base on some best practices that the teams can adopt for the smooth running of the scrum event. Strategy for uncertainties During the sprint planning meeting, the team talks about capacity, velocity, and shapes their Sprint commitment around the confident items. Planning for uncertainties not only helps in contingency but it also reduces the upcoming risk that can pose an impediment for the team. Sprint skeleton Laying out the stories or Sprint items in the form of a map helps the team in getting a tentative idea around each deliverable. this also helps in defining the internal dependencies and the teams can better plan by moving them up and down. Building consensus It is important to get the team onboarded together as a single group for the sprint goal. They should understand the importance and the urgency of the deliverable and they are ready to take the ownership, this also requires supporting the teammates. Benefits of Sprint Planning A successful Sprint planning creates a smooth runway for the team to start their work. It provides clarity in terms of commitment, goals, timelines, and ownership. The output of the Sprint planning meeting sets an expectation with both the parties - the scrum team and the stakeholders - on what to expect by the end of the Sprint. It can be visualized as the team pulling a bucket of work from a big pile and focus on delivering that bucket with expected quality. Ready, set, sprint! “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” - French writer and pioneering aviator, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Done in the right spirit, Sprint planning can do wonders in sprint delivery. All it requires is a focused approach, discipline, few best practices, and a collaborative approach towards a solution.  If you have followed this guide, at the end of your sprint planning session you and your entire team should walk away with: An agreed-upon Sprint Goal and a clear definition of “done” Commitment to a realistic sprint backlog Understanding of the bug fixes and support work included in the backlog Detailed tasks for each user story with an estimation and acceptance criteria Due dates and scheduled scrum meetings Now, all you have to do is the work.Ready to start or grow your Agile career?  Check out our latest courses, learn the skills and get the personalized guidance you need. 
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The Ultimate Guide to Sprint Planning

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6 Metaphors To Understand The Value Of Scrum Values

The Scrum framework, a team-based approach, follows certain rules and principles helping the organizations and professionals both to identify ‘what works best for them’. The commitment, focus, openness, respect, courage are the five core Scrum values which are often underrated. These values add ethics to Scrum project management encouraging the members to follow a defined route for project management; therefore, the understanding of these values is very important for Scrum team members.  The following six metaphors simplify the understanding of Scrum values:  1. Scrum Values Are Like "Fasteners" The fasteners are used to bind two materials, similar or different, together and resist their separation. The Scrum values serve a similar purpose by keeping the Scrum team members together despite their different roles. Scrum team members need to practice all the Scrum Values as the parts of a unit for performing up to the full potential, whether the results are as per expectations or not.    2. Scrum Values Are Like the "Foundation" The Scrum values provide a stable foundation for sustainable project development. The foundation is built on the confidence and trust of members over each other. In a well developed Scrum team, members believe in the capabilities of other members; and, it helps them to handle the challenges collectively in a planned manner. The strong foundation encourages delivering the best for each Sprint goal. The strong relationship and mutual understanding help the Scrum team perform as a unit for the common objective – profitable on-the-time delivery of best-quality project.          3. Scrum Values Are Like a "Compass" A number of times, a Scrum team struggles hard to hit the Sprint goals despite having required skills, resources, support and opportunities. Without having a clear vision, team members feel perished. A great vision always precedes the success; but just having a vision is not enough until you understand it in the light of your mission. Therefore, it is important to check the vision whether it is compelling all the team members to deliver their best or not.  Scrum values are the compass-like guiding tool. Scrum team members embracing the Scrum values possess the moral compass that drives them towards the Sprint goal, helps them stay together, and guides to choose the right process. The Scrum values guide the Scrum team like a compass to go ahead for a successful project delivery.  4. Scrum Values Are Like a "Magnet" The ‘Law of Magnetism’ mentioned in ‘The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership (John C. Maxwell, 1998) states that “Who you are is who you attract.” The practicing of Scrum values develops a positive energy helping you to develop an effective Scrum team and to keep all the members intact. The attitude to follow the Scrum values strictly instils the feel of unity among the team members; and, this magnetic force improves the project quality and individuals’ performance.       5. Scrum Values Are Like The “Sportsmanship” The metaphor “sportsmanship” to define Scrum values brings the notion to compete. It drives the Scrum team members to manage the complexities, challenges of shorter sprint duration, new guidelines, backlog work pressure etc. Like the sportsmanship keeps the sportsman cool despite the tough competition on the track, the Scrum values  encourage the members to focus on the targets without being perturbed by the new developments.      6. Scrum Values Are the "Identity"  The defined Scrum Values are the identity of a Scrum team because these values guide the team members on ‘how to behave and act’ securing the organization’s interests while satisfying the customer as well. Your beliefs as a team member identify you because these beliefs govern your thought line and actions. The management expert Ken Blanchard says that organizations claim for having a set of behavioural values but these values are the commonly accepted generic organizational beliefs pertaining to profitability, responsiveness to customers and integrity. Scrum values guide the members’ behaviour in the line of organization's vision & mission.    The word "commitment" is a #Scrum value, but was removed from the Scrum Guide several years ago in relation to the team's Sprint Goal. Why? Because committing to behaviour is effective, whereas committing to achieving x output in a fixed timeframe isn't. — Neil Killick (@neil_killick) March 13, 2018 Conclusion:    Scrum framework guides to imply a team-based approach ensuring the maximum values to the customer and business. After the successful development of Scrum team, the next task of Scrum master is to get the best from each member; and, it is possible only if each member understands the importance of Scrum values and respects them as an organizational culture. Organizing the ‘Scrum certification training’ for the concerned team members helps a lot to get the best from the individuals through the smooth processes, ensuring the peak deliverance at project completion.
6 Metaphors To Understand The Value Of Scrum Value...

The Scrum framework, a team-based approach, follow... Read More

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