Lesson 3: Plan the sprint

In the previous lesson, you acted as the product owner to determine what story items could be completed in the release. In this lesson, you log in as the scrum leader and meet with the development team to determine which features can be accomplished in the first iteration, or sprint.

About this task

The purpose of sprint planning is for the team to commit to complete a collection of stories that add new functionality to the product by the end of the sprint. The team plans and estimates, and then decides how much work can fit into the sprint. The first step is to pull as many stories as the team can commit to from the release backlog into the sprint. The second step is to develop the tasks for each of the stories that the team must complete.


  1. In the Login window, log in as the scrum leader by typing marco in both the User ID and Password fields.
  2. Open the release backlog in your project by clicking Plans > All Plans, and then clicking Release Backlog.
  3. Move work items from the release backlog to Sprint 1. In the Iterations view, you can drag work items from release to sprint.
    1. Hover the mouse pointer over the leftmost section in the Actions column of the work item, and drag the work item to Sprint 1.
      Iteration view: Dragging a work item from a release plan to a sprint.
      Note: You can rank work items, while you move them to the sprint by dragging them around the work items that are in the sprint. Automatic scrolling is enabled when the cursor is near the bottom of the plan editor, displaying any subsequent work items. After scrolling down, you can move the cursor to the top of the plan editor to automatically scroll to the preceding work items.
    2. Move at least three work items, and then click Save.
  4. To complete the work for a story, add tasks that break the work into manageable chunks. In a typical sprint planning meeting, the team members mention the tasks to do and the scrum leader records the tasks. To add tasks to the stories:
    1. Open the sprint backlog in your project by clicking Plans > All Plans, and under the Sprint 1 (1.0) section, click Sprint Backlog.
    2. Switch to the Ranked List view by selecting Ranked List from the View As list.
    3. Hover the cursor over the Actions column of the story, click the down arrow that is next to the Create Work Item icon Create Work Item, click Create Child Work Item, and then select Task.
    4. Type a summary for the task.
    5. Add at least three tasks for each story.
    6. Click Save.
  5. Estimate the tasks and assign their owners:
    1. Click the task summary to open it in the work item editor.
    2. Provide an estimate for the task by clicking the Estimate field, selecting the measure of time, and typing a value.
      task with estimate
    3. Continue to add estimates for all of the tasks in the story. After you finish estimating tasks, you can see the total estimates for the story and the entire sprint.

      For more information about tracking progress in plans and work items, see Progress and Load Bars.

    4. Return to the plan by clicking Plans, and under the Recent Plans section, click Sprint Backlog.
    5. From the View As list, select Work Breakdown.
    6. Expand Unassigned, and then drag each work item to the team member to own it.
      Note: Typically, tasks are assigned to team members, but stories remain unassigned. The team or the product owner decides when a story is finished. In the following example, the story is disabled, which indicates that this work item is assigned to another person or another plan.

      grayed story items

    7. Monitor the available time for team members as they accept tasks by using the Planned Time view. In the row of each team member, a progress bar displays the work load report.

      Team member with progress bar for the work load report.

      The work load report displays the following information:
      • Estimated: The percentage of hours that the team member is available to work for this sprint. The percentage decreases if absences are scheduled.
      • Load: The team member’s total work load. The planned hours are depicted by the green part of the bar.

      You can hover the mouse pointer over the bar to see more information about work item estimation, as the next image shows.

      Hover information on work load report bar.

      Note: The value for the total hours available is based on a team member’s availability for that item period. When the total hours available are calculated, scheduled absences, such as vacation, are taken into account. To balance the workload and monitor progress, all team members must enter their work assignments and their scheduled absences.


Continue to estimate tasks until team members no longer have time available. For scrum teams to succeed, everyone's workload needs spare time to adjust for estimates that are inadequate or interruptions. All of the work that is committed must be completed, no matter what happens. Choose a percentage of spare time that fits your team.