A reader of my Sprint Planning post wanted more details about how all the Scrum pieces fit together, so I thought I’d oblige with more details.
For this example, I’ll use as an example Goldilocks and the Three Cons, a caper novel set in a fairy tale universe. I am not going to write it, but I would love to read if someone wants to run with it!
First, let’s look at the layout in general:
I have space for all three levels of planning: the product backlog, the sprint backlog, and the nitty-gritty details of tasks I need to work on to achieve the Sprint Goal.
By the way, I’m using the app Cardflow+ on my iPad for this activity. Trello is another good choice if you want an online Scrum Board. There are many others. If you don’t need something portable, you might like using physical index cards, painter’s tape, and a blank wall in your writing space.
Product and Sprint Goals
Here’s a closeup of the Product Backlog and Sprint Backlog sections:
I keep the goals right at the top of each backlog for ease of reference. There’s no text for the Sprint Goal yet because I haven’t started Sprint Planning. In fact, I don’t even have a Product Backlog yet. Let’s see what that will look like.
The Product Backlog
For the purposes of building out the Product Backlog, I’m imagining that the writer is using the Save the Cat! method of plotting.
The Product Backlog gets laid out in order below the Product Goal. The items near the top are small enough to be selected in Sprint Planning:
Items in the middle tend to be bigger or vaguer:
Items at the bottom can be enormous:
Look at how ginormous that last item is. Who knows what the story will look like by the time I get to Act three? I don’t want to waste time planning that out until I’ve written more of the story.
After I’ve set a Sprint Goal, I select the product backlog items that I think will get me to that goal. As shown below, I move them into the Sprint Goal column. Later, I’ll update the Product Backlog but for now, I don’t care about the remaining items.
Finally, I look at what tasks I need to do to complete each product backlog. I like to color-code each product backlog item and their associated tasks to make it easy to see what the status of a particular item is at a glance.
If a backlog item is too small to need multiple tasks, I usually duplicate it as a task and move the task card through the process.
I hope that helps make many moving pieces easier to grasp. Next up, I’ll discuss the penultimate event of the Sprint cycle: Sprint Review.