Agile Iteration Planning - Agile Methodology

What is Iteration Planning?

The main purpose of iteration planning is for the team to agree and plan the stories or backlog items that they are confident enough so that they can complete the set of top-ranked product backlog items. This after delivery and acceptance criteria is committed to the upcoming iteration

Who is Involved?

  • Scrum Master − The scrum master acts as a facilitator for the agile delivery team.
  • Product Owner − The product owner deals with the detailed view of the product backlog and their acceptance criteria.
  • Agile Team − Agile delivery defines their tasks to the team members and estimates the effort required to fulfil the commitment.

Prerequisites of Planning

  • Items in product backlog are sized and have a relative story point assigned.
  • Product owner gives the ranking to portfolio items .
  • Acceptance criteria has been clearly stated for each portfolio item.

Planning Process

Following are the steps involved in iteration planning −
  • Determines how many stories can fit in an iteration.
  • Break these stories into tasks or frames and assign each task to their owners.
  • Each task is given estimation in hours.
  • These estimates help team members to check as to how many task hours each member has for the iteration.
  • Team members are assigned tasks depending upon their velocity or capacity so that they are not overburdened.

Velocity Calculation

Velocity calculations can be done on past iterations by an agile team. It is a metric that estimates how much work that an agile software team completes successfully within a given iteration time. Velocity is defined as an average number of units required to finish user stories in an iteration. For example, if a team took 12, 14, 10 story points in each iteration for the last three iterations, the team can take average 12 as velocity for the next iteration.
Planned velocity tells the team as to how many user stories can be completed in the current iteration. If the team is able to complete the tasks assigned quickly, then more user stories can be taken in. Otherwise, stories can be moved out to the next iteration.

Task Capacity

The capacity of a team is derived from the following three facts −

  • Number of ideal working hours in a day
  • Available days of person in the iteration
  • Percentage of time a member is exclusively available for the team.
Suppose a team has 5 members, committed to work full time (8 hours a day) on a project and no one is on leave during an iteration, then the task capacity for a two-week iteration will be estimated as −
5 × 8 × 10 = 400 hours

Planning Steps

  • Product Owner describes the highest ranked item of product backlog.
  • Team mentions the tasks required to complete the item.
  • Team members acquire their own tasks.
  • Team members estimate the time to finish each task.
  • These steps are repeated for all the items in the iteration.
  • If any individual is overburdened with tasks given, then his/her task is shifted to other team members who are working.

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