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Sprint Planning is an essential part of the Agile methodology and is mandatory in Scrum. Product Owners have a key role to play in this key meeting. But what does a Product Owner do in Sprint Planning? It’s important for organizations to understand the responsibilities that come with being a Product Owner so they can ensure their team members are adequately equipped to plan effectively and efficiently.

In this blog post we’ll discuss what it takes for successful sprint planning, from understanding your checklist items through avoiding common mistakes and following top recommendations. Join us as we explore the critical question: What does Product Owner do in Sprint Planning?

Responsibilities of the Product Owner:

The product owner is responsible for ensuring that good economic decisions are continuously being made at the release, Sprint, and Product Backlog levels. This includes managing the refinement of the Product Backlog which involves creating and refining items, estimating them, and ordering them. The Product Owner does not need to perform all of these tasks and can delegate. They should be available for questions or clarification.

The Product Owner must also ensure good communication between stakeholders so everyone appropriately aware of changes or updates related to project goals or scope. The Product Owner also makes sure there is agreement on priorities among different teams involved in order for successful delivery of value within given timeframe. They must also track progress against objectives throughout duration of project as well as identify any risks associated with it in order take corrective action if needed before it impacts timeline or budget allocated for it negatively.

Table of Contents:

What Does a Product Owner Do in Sprint Planning?

The Product Owner is a key role in any agile team and are mandatory in Scrum. They are responsible for ensuring that the project meets its goals and objectives, while also facilitating various meetings such Sprint Planning, Sprint Reviews and Refinement.

Overview of the Role of the Product Owner

Alongside the Team, the Product Owner is responsible for delivering a successful project by directing the Team to be building the most valuable items each Sprint. This includes setting clear outcomes for each Sprint, defining user stories, creating acceptance criteria, communicating progress to stakeholders, and making sure that everyone understands what is being built and why within the project.

Responsibilities During Sprint Planning

During Sprint Planning meetings, it is important for the Product Owner to clearly define the Product Backlog Items that need to be built. This includes agreeing realistic expectations about timelines and deliverables as well as outlining any risks or potential issues which may arise during development. Additionally, they should be prepared to answer questions from other members of the team regarding scope or details related to specific tasks or features being discussed.

The Product Owner should facilitate Sprint Planning by working closely with the development team to define a clear and achievable Sprint Goal that aligns with the overall Vision and objectives of the product.

Some ways that a Product Owner can facilitate Sprint Planning include:

  1. Ordering items in the Product Backlog to ensure that the most important and valuable items are addressed first.
  2. Providing additional detail or clarification on requirements to ensure that the development team understands what needs to be delivered.
  3. Identifying and addressing any dependencies or roadblocks that may impact the team’s ability to deliver items from the backlog.
  4. Collaborating with the team to identify and mitigate any risks that may impact the sprint.
  5. Participating in the sprint planning meeting and actively engaging with the team to ensure that the sprint goal and backlog items align with the overall product vision and goals, and that they align with the customers needs and expectations.
  6. Communicating effectively and clearly with the team and stakeholders to ensure that everyone understands the goals and objectives of the sprint, and that any questions or concerns are addressed in a timely manner.
  7. Being available and responsive to the team during the sprint to provide guidance, support, and assistance as needed.
  8. Actively listening to the team’s feedback and incorporating it into the planning process to improve the overall quality of the product and the team’s workflow.

Best Practices for Successful Sprint Planning

In order for sprint planning sessions to be successful, there must be effective communication between all parties involved, including developers, designers, testers etc. It is important for everyone involved in a project to understand their roles so they can work together effectively towards achieving common goals without any confusion or delays due to misunderstandings about who is doing what task when it comes time to execute them during actual development cycles. Additionally, having an organized backlog with detailed descriptions helps ensure that nothing falls through the cracks since everything will already have been documented prior to the meeting. Finally, tracking progress regularly allows teams to quickly identify areas that need improvement before too much time is wasted trying to complete something incorrectly.

Sprint Planning is a critical part of Agile Project Management and is mandatory in Scrum. The Product Owner plays an essential role in making sure that it runs smoothly. This article provides an overview of what to expect from the Product Owner during Sprint Planning, as well as best practices for successful sprint planning. Next, we’ll look at a checklist for Sprint Planning to ensure success.

Key Takeaway: The Product Owner is a key role in agile teams and mandatory in Scrum. They are responsible for delivering successful products. During Sprint Planning they should set clear goals and expectations, communicate progress to stakeholders, answer questions from the team and ensure everyone understands what needs to be built.

Checklist for Sprint Planning

Pre-Planning Tasks to Complete Before the Meeting: Before a sprint planning meeting, it is important to gather all relevant information and materials. This includes understanding the user stories, gathering data on customer feedback, researching competitive products, and preparing any necessary documents or visuals. It is also important to review any existing plans or strategies related to the project so that everyone can be on the same page when discussing goals and objectives during the meeting.

During The Meeting Tasks To Complete: During a sprint planning meeting, it is essential for team members to discuss goals and objectives in detail. This should include an overview of what needs to be accomplished within each sprint as well as how long each task will take. Additionally, team members should prioritize user stories based on importance and allocate resources accordingly. Finally, roles and responsibilities should be established for each member of the team so that everyone knows who is responsible for what tasks throughout the duration of the project.

Sprint Planning is a timeboxed planning session for the upcoming Sprint. During this meeting, the entire team agrees to define the Product Backlog Items which will form the basis of their sprint commitment. To ensure successful Sprint Planning meetings, it is important to have all stories ready before beginning – this means that stories should adhere to the Defintion of Ready. Additionally the team should consider only those stories that are small enough to be finished within the given timeframe.

Before starting any Sprint Planning meeting, it is essential for the Product Owner to identify and prepare all relevant product backlog items (PBIs). Ideally, these should be small enough so they can be completed in one or two days during the course of the Sprint.

Once all PBIs are ready, teams should assess whether any item is too large to fit into one single Sprint. If so, these stories should be split into smaller pieces in order for them to become valid candidates for inclusion in future sprint plans. It’s also important that teams review historical data from previous iterations when determining what tasks can realistically fit into upcoming sprints based on their capacity and velocity estimates.

Finally, once all necessary tasks have been identified and agreed upon by everyone involved in the meeting, teams should then assign specific roles and responsibilities related with each task before finalizing their commitments at hand – ensuring everyone understands exactly what needs doing over the course of next few weeks leading up until completion date arrives!

Here is a possible checklist for a successful Sprint Planning meeting:

  1. Review and update the Product Backlog to ensure that it is up-to-date and reflects the latest priorities and requirements.
  2. Identify the most important and valuable items from the product backlog that need to be delivered in the upcoming sprint.
  3. Review the Definition of Done so the team are aware of what ‘Good’ looks like.
  4. Understand and discuss the dependencies and risks that may impact the Sprint.
  5. Estimate the amount of work required to deliver the items from the Product Backlog.
  6. Review and discuss any constraints or limitations that may impact the sprint.
  7. Create a Sprint Backlog that includes the list of Product Backlog Items and deliverables that need to be completed during the sprint.
  8. Review and discuss any issues or concerns that may arise during the sprint.
  9. Set clear expectations and timelines for the sprint.
  10. Make sure everyone knows what’s expected of them and all questions are addressed.
  11. Once the Sprint Backlog is in place, clearly define the Sprint Goal and ensure that it aligns with the overall Product Vision and goals.
  12. Review and adjust the plan as necessary during the Sprint to ensure success.
  13. Have a plan for monitoring progress and addressing issues as they arise.
  14. Have a plan for how to adapt the plan in case of an unexpected change or deviation.

Top 5 Mistakes During Sprint Planning

Sprint Planning sets the stage for Sprint success by ensuring that everyone involved understands the goals and objectives of the Sprint. Unfortunately, mistakes during Sprint Planning can have serious consequences on the Sprint and in turn on the project’s timeline and budget.

Here are five common mistakes to avoid when conducting sprint planning:

Bringing in Stories that do not adhere to the Definition of Ready. The DoR – helps teams to ensure that only Product Backlog Items that are assessed, well understood and estimated are brought into Sprint Planning. Items that do not adhere to the Definition of Ready may have missing information or not be well understood by the team. Poor quality Product Backlog Items hinder development, and can create significant technical debt.

Poorly Defined Goals and Objectives: One of the most common mistakes made during Sprint Planning is not setting clear goals or objectives. Without these in place, it’s difficult to determine what tasks need to be completed in order to reach those goals or objectives. This can lead to confusion among team members about what needs to be done, resulting in wasted time and resources trying to figure out how best to move forward with a project.

Not Allocating Enough Time for Discussion and Brainstorming: Another mistake made during sprint planning is not allowing enough time for discussion and brainstorming among team members. This can lead to rushed decisions being made without proper consideration given towards potential risks or opportunities associated with them. Additionally, this lack of discussion could mean that some ideas aren’t even considered which could potentially result in missed opportunities down the line if they had been explored further at this stage.

Sprint planning is an important part of agile project delivery, and mistakes can be costly. To ensure a successful sprint plan, it’s important to avoid the top 5 mistakes discussed above and follow the recommendations in the next heading.

Key Takeaway: Sprint planning is essential for successful agile projects, but mistakes can be costly. Avoid poor goal definition, lack of discussion and brainstorming, and other common pitfalls to ensure success.

Top 5 Recommendations for Great Sprint Planning

Here are five recommendations for great Sprint Planning meetings:

  1. Set Clear Goals and Objectives: Before beginning a Sprint, it’s essential to set clear goals and objectives that can be easily understood by all members of the team. This should include both short-term goals (what needs to be accomplished during this particular sprint) as well as long-term goals (the overall vision for what you want to achieve). Once these have been established, they should be communicated clearly so everyone knows exactly what needs to be done in order to reach them.
  2. Ordered User Stories: Sprint Planning meetings should revolve around an ordered Product Backlog. This means that user stories or Product Backlog Items should be ordered based on a number of factors (urgency, importance, feasibility, team availability etc). This ensures that tasks are completed while still allowing room for flexibility if something unexpected arises during development or testing phases. Additionally, having a clear understanding of which user stories need attention first can help keep teams focused on achieving their desired outcomes faster than expected.
  3. Each member of the team should know exactly what roles they play in completing tasks throughout each sprint cycle – from developers who code features all the way up through Product Owners who define requirements at higher levels. Ensuring that everyone understands their individual responsibilities as well as those of other team members helps streamline communication between departments while keeping projects running smoothly without any hiccups along the way.
  4. Sprint Planning meetings provide an excellent opportunity for open dialogue between stakeholders about possible solutions or strategies related to upcoming projects; however, it is important not to get too bogged down with lengthy conversations here. Instead, try setting aside specific time slots dedicated solely towards brainstorming ideas before diving into more detailed discussions later on down the line.
  5. Lastly, tracking progress regularly throughout each sprint cycle is key; this includes setting milestones, monitoring task completion rates, measuring velocity against planned estimates, etc. Doing so allows teams better visibility into where things stand at any given moment, enabling them to make adjustments quickly if needed.
Key Takeaway: Sprint Planning is essential for successful Agile projects, and should include setting clear goals & objectives, ordering user stories, understanding individual roles & responsibilities, brainstorming solutions and tracking progress.

FAQs in Relation to What Does Product Owner Do in Sprint Planning

Does the Product Owner join sprint planning?

Yes, the Product Owner should absolutely join Sprint Planning! Ideally Product Owners facilitate this key meeting. This is because they are responsible for providing direction and feedback to the team about the Product throughout the development process. They must be present in order to ensure that all stakeholders understand what needs to be done and how it will benefit the project as a whole. Additionally, they can provide valuable insights into potential risks or issues that may arise during development which can help guide decision-making within the team.

What does a product owner focus on planning?

A product owner focuses on planning the vision, strategy and roadmap for a product. They are responsible for understanding customer needs and ensuring that those needs are met through the development of the product. They work closely with stakeholders to ensure that all requirements are understood and prioritized accordingly. Additionally, they manage backlogs, track progress against milestones, and monitor overall project performance. Product owners also focus on communication between teams to ensure successful delivery of products within budget and timeline constraints.

What is the first thing a product owner should do before sprint planning?

Before sprint planning, the product owner should ensure that they have a clear understanding of the project goals and objectives. They should also review any existing user stories or backlog items to determine which ones are most important for the upcoming sprint. Additionally, they should assess any risks associated with completing these tasks in order to plan accordingly. Finally, it is important for them to communicate with stakeholders and team members about their expectations for the sprint so everyone is on the same page before beginning work.

What are product owner responsibilities?

Product Owners are responsible for the success of a product or service. They define and prioritize features, set direction, and ensure customer satisfaction. Product Owners must have an understanding of the business objectives to be able to create user stories that meet those goals. They also need to collaborate with stakeholders, development teams, and customers throughout the entire process from concept through delivery. Additionally, they must monitor progress and make sure deadlines are met while ensuring quality standards are maintained. Finally, Product Owners must be able to communicate effectively and make decisions quickly.


In conclusion, it is important to understand what a Product Owner does in Sprint Planning and the checklist that should be followed. Additionally, being aware of the top 5 mistakes during Sprint Planning and following the top 5 recommendations for great Sprint Planning can help ensure success when planning your next sprint. By understanding these concepts and taking them into consideration when planning your sprints, you will have greater chances of achieving successful outcomes from your projects. Remember that understanding what a Product Owner does in Sprint Planning is key to having successful sprints!

Are you looking for help with Agile training, consulting and project turnaround? Fractal Systems Ltd can provide the expertise to ensure that your Sprint Planning is successful. We understand how important it is for Product Owners to be in control of their product backlogs and have extensive experience in helping teams define sprint goals, create user stories and prioritize tasks. Let us help make sure your sprint planning runs smoothly – contact us today!

Further Agile Scrum Training

 Online Professional Scrum Master Training I (PSMI)

 Online Professional Scrum Master Training II (PSMII)

 Online Professional Scrum Product Owner (PSPO)

 Professional Scrum Product Owner Advanced (PSPO-A)

 Applying Professional Scrum (APS)