What is Iteration Planning in Agile and When Iteration Planning Completed ?

by StarAgile

May 12, 2021
Category SAFe

Iteration Planning

Iteration planning is needed from the beginning of the scrum process as it helps to manage the software development more efficiently. The team backlog is partially done during the program increment (PI) planning. The team and the tasks are matched for the sprint backlog and then iteration planning is done for one successful sprint. 

Let us discuss some of the terminologies in agile and scrum development. The scrum is part of the agile methodology that is used in software development. The scrum consists of three major parts for software developments are Product backlog (living artefact), Sprint backlog, and work done status. 

The living artefact is planned and is done by the product owner and generally consists of user stories and epics. A story is the smallest part of the product backlog that can be programmed in the sprint to make a value in the work done area or the software development. This can be a function or any smallest requirements of the whether business or technical or functional that can be realized as the outcome in the form of a feature. 

An epic is a large part of the requirements that need to be broken down into the smallest part such as user stories. Learn more to get more knowledge on the SAFe course at the best training institute.

A sprint backlog consists of the group of tasks that is obtained from the user stories of the product backlog that can be converted into features in a single sprint iteration. The work done consists of multiple features of the products after several sprint iterations. 

A scrum master manages the scrum sprint iterations. A product owner is in charge of the complete project and is tasked with the responsibilities of making the user stories, and epics from the requirements and then sequence and schedule the product backlog.

What is iteration planning in agile?

Iteration planning is the process by which planning is done on how many tasks can be lined up to make the feature in a single sprint. Sometimes a single feature consists of multiple sprint iterations. The owner and the master based on the resources decide how many tasks can be committed in a single iteration. 

Iteration planning is helpful to make the sprint and the product backlog more effective and the development activities of the tasks more efficient. Planning is the key to success. At every stage one must meticulously plan to deliver the right outcome. The repetitive process became successful in development due to the right planning at the right time. The entire team sits together to plan and commit about how much they can complete. 

Before proceeding know the difference between iteration and incremental model

Iteration planning


When is iteration Planning completed?

Logically speaking the iteration planning is completed only when the last sprint backlog is committed with the final sets of tasks. However, each set of sprint backlogs consists of iteration planning and is completed on the completion of that particular sprint.

1) Inputs to the iteration planning – These are nothing but the tasks that can be accomplished by the team in the single iteration that is a single sprint. This is planned using the user stories, during the sequencing and scheduling of the user stories and taking in to account the previous projects or the historical averages, from lessons learned from previous projects, taking into account any similar projects completed previously and by studying any other similar team in the other projects. One other important parameter is the system demo that was done before the start of the project.

2) Planning the iteration – This is done when the product owner establishes the program increments and then breaks down the requirements into user stories for the resources to work on.

3) Capacity estimation – This is nothing but calculating the time required by the resources such as velocity and story points calculations. For example – If a sprint is said to be for one week and then there are 4 developers and 3 testers and 1 Product owner then the velocity is calculated as 5 * 8 that is 40 story points estimation per iteration and so on.

4) Story Analysis and estimation – This is done by the product owner when each user story and epics are made in the product backlog depending on the complexity, how long it will take to complete, how many resources are needed, size, difficulty, acceptance criteria, technical challenges, and uncertainty.  This is also called the Behavior-Driven Development (BDD) of the tasks in Scrum.

5) User stories – This is nothing but making the individual tasks from the user's stories for the resources to act upon and complete the tasks in a sprint backlog and then planning many more iterations if required.

6) Goals of the iteration – Making the iteration goals to develop a feature of the product is the next step. The iteration goals will accomplish certain customer requirements in an iteration.

7) Finally committing to the iteration goals – Once the goals of the single iteration are established and worked upon then committing to the iteration goals are the final steps in the iteration planning stages.

What is safe iteration planning?

An iteration planning is done by taking into account resources and the tasks and the resources time usually a single day and sometimes a week. So a safe iteration planning takes into account all the above things and the simple logic that a single sprint is completed in a day with necessary resources by taking into account if a resource is unable to turn up for the work then how the tasks will be completed. There two main metrics that come into picture are Story points and velocity. The story points are the capacity of the team to complete a single iteration taking into account the velocity of the team.  A story point is a relative story that is 8 point user story is 4 times the efforts of the 2 point user stories. A velocity is the historical average of all user stories completed per iteration.

Therefore a safe iteration planning takes into account the velocity of the team and the story points average they can realize in a single iteration.

Final thoughts

You can learn Iteration planning with live projects and real-time examples in the SAFe agile certification provided by StarAgile. StarAgile is the training partner for Scaled Agile Inc for providing the SAFe training. Enroll to know more about the SAFe agile certification. Keep Learning!!!