What Is a Sprint Plan?

Written by Coursera • Updated on

A sprint plan is important in Agile project management. In this article explore what a sprint plan is, why it matters, and information about careers that use it.

[Featured Image] A project Manager and team member is reading over a document and discussing the process of a sprint plan for the latest project.

A sprint plan in this context has to do with project management, often in technology environments. A sprint plan is just one way to get things done. In this article explore why having a sprint plan matters in a project and how to get involved in a career that uses it.

What is sprint planning? 

Sprint planning is a process that breaks big projects into smaller parts common to the Scrum framework. By taking a sprint approach, a development team can produce high-quality software more quickly. The sprint will take a short duration and encourage focus on specific objectives to drive adaptation.

Sprint planning, and the Scrum framework, are part of the larger Agile methodology. Scrum relies on sprint planning, emphasizing transparency and team collaboration. The main goal is to deliver results frequently. Team members will identify a list of tasks that need to be done, prioritize them, and work together to accomplish the objectives by the end of the sprint.

Read more: What Is Product Management: Definition, Types, And Responsibilities

Benefits of a sprint plan 

A sprint plan can help a team get things done on time and on budget. Facing a six-month-long project can be daunting; a sprint plan makes the project more manageable. 

Other advantages include:

  • Helps motivate people given tasks that are doable in the time allotted for the sprint

  • Feeling accomplished as team members achieve goals more regularly

  • Transparency into what everyone is doing to help balance the workload

  • Encourages greater employee engagement through collaboration, which can support your retention efforts 

Phases of sprint planning 

To better understand sprint planning, learn about the different stages of a sprint cycle. Typically a sprint has four phases:

1. Planning involves the team collaboratively deciding the sprint’s goal.

2. Checking-in often happens daily in short, stand-up Scrum meetings, in which participants share what they’ve accomplished and what they’ll be working on next. If any challenges arise, team members can share them.

3. Reviewing is done at the end of the sprint. Again, everyone is involved as they share what was completed, what wasn’t, and what obstacles need to be addressed. Actual output could be demonstrated at this stage.

4. Retrospective is completed before the next planning session. The team meets to collaboratively discuss what should be continued or changed to make the next sprint more successful.

How to create a sprint plan: Quick checklist 

Every sprint begins with sprint planning. With this quick checklist, you can keep sprint planning focused and productive.

Gather data. 

The sprint plan starts with the team gathering a list of tasks. These are typically called product backlog items. The sprint planning begins after the sprint review and retrospective stages, so you’ll gather output from those discussions to shape the plan.

Confirm the points to be moved from backlog to sprint.

To prioritize the backlog items, you’ll move forward to this sprint. You’ll want to consider:

  • What is the sprint goal?

  • What items are ready and contribute to the goal?

  • What is the duration of the sprint?

  • Who is available to be on the sprint team?

Assess the team’s capacity and skills.

Having considered who is going to be available (considering vacations, holidays, and other conflicting activities), you’ll want to assess the skills and capacity at your disposal. There may be better team morale if the goals are attainable to keep the team from feeling overloaded. However, be mindful that giving the team too few tasks can undermine motivation and slow a project down.

Establish when a task is completed. 

Once the team divides the work into functional increments known as user stories. You’ll need to define what completes each story so that team members know how their tasks are done.

Create an interactive process to earn investment.

Encouraging collaboration is part of a good sprint plan. Give product owner’s the opportunity to share the vision since they’re typically the project’s key stakeholder. Offer the team the chance to estimate how long something will take, and choose how much work gets done in that sprint.

Preparing for a Scrum meeting 

Effective sprints will involve everyone on the project team. This helps keep the goals achievable and improve process transparency. At the same time,  everyone will have different roles to prepare for the different stages of sprint planning.

Project manager/Scrum Master

Average annual base salary (US): $97,776 [1]

The Scrum Master or project manager is responsible for reviewing the team’s capacity against the project timeline. A successful sprint has a leader that ensures the project is moving forward and is tracking the overall deliverables and expectations. They will also estimate the necessary amount of time and budget to complete each item on the sprint plan.

This role will track the sprint cycle by setting agendas for group meetings, removing distractions, and providing needed supplies.They’ll also facilitate collaborative discussion and invite questions and answers before people return to their tasks.

Product owner

Average annual base salary (US): $90,496 [2]

The product owner is usually the project’s key stakeholder. They have the holistic view of the product’s users, a vision of the marketplace, competitors, and relevant trends. Their point of view can help give shape to the team’s goals and inspire productivity.

A product owner’s job is to:

  • Define the project vision and goals

  • Prioritize the list of what needs to be done 

  • Oversee the product development from start to finish

  • Communicate with other stakeholders and teams

  • Know what the client needs

  • Evaluate progress

Team member

As a team member, you can prepare for sprint planning, check-ins, reviews, and retrospectives by going over your own tasks or sprint assignments. Be ready to discuss what you’ve been working on as well as any hurdles. 

The success of a sprint depends on everyone collaborating. Contribute concisely in the meetings. It’s always a good idea to ask for help along the way too.

How to build your expertise in sprint planning

Effective sprint planning takes a good understanding of Scrum and Agile methods. You can expand your understanding of what happens in a sprint, product backlog items, user stories, and the process of iteration planning in various ways.

Read more: Agile vs. Scrum: How to Choose the Best Method

Bachelor’s degree program 

Agile project managers and Scrum Masters usually have a bachelor’s in business, computer science, or electrical engineering. According to Zippia, 62 percent of Agile project managers have a bachelors, and 66 percent of Scrum masters have one also[3,4].  Team members may have computer science, software engineering, computer programming, or information technology degrees.


If you’re interested in being a Scrum product owner, you might get certified by the Scrum Alliance or Scrum.org. Certifications or professional certificates are a great way to learn more about project management methodologies and to enhance your resume. 

  • Project Management Professional (PMP): If you have a few years of relevant professional experience working on projects, further your career with the PMP credential offered by Project Management Institute (PMI). This certification can help you succeed in sprint planning.


professional certificate

Google Project Management:

Start your path to a career in project management. In this program, you’ll learn in-demand skills that will have you job-ready in less than six months. No degree or experience is required.


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Average time: 6 month(s)

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Skills you'll build:

Organizational Culture, Career Development, Strategic Thinking, Change Management, Project Management, Stakeholder Management, Business Writing, Project Charter, Project Planning, Risk Management, Task Estimation, Procurement, Quality Management, Project Execution, Coaching, Influencing, Agile Management, Problem Solving, Scrum, Effective Communication

Read more: 10 PMI Certifications to Level Up Your Project Management Career 

Next steps

You can gain more experience with sprint planning on Coursera too.The Introduction to Scrum Master Training helps beginners learn the foundations of Agile Scrum. Learn Agile project management, including the Scrum framework and sprint planning, fromGoogle’s Agile Project Management course. If you’re just getting started, you may want to start your journey on  If you’re just getting started, you may want to start your journey on Coursera with the Foundations of Project Management



Introduction to Scrum Master Training

This course is designed to help Scrum beginners learn the foundational knowledge to become proficient with Agile Scrum. Throughout the course, learners will ...


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Agile Project Management

This is the fifth course in the Google Project Management Certificate program. This course will explore the history, approach, and philosophy of Agile ...


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Average time: 1 month(s)

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Skills you'll build:

Coaching, Influencing, Agile Management, Problem Solving, Scrum

Article sources


Glassdoor. “How much does a Project Manager/Scrum Master make?, https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/project-manager-scrum-master-salary-SRCH_KO0,28.htm#:~:text=%24106%2C686,-%2F%20yr&text=How%20accurate%20does%20%24106%2C686%20look%20to%20you%3F&text=Your%20input%20helps%20Glassdoor%20refine%20our%20pay%20estimates%20over%20time.." Accessed January 26, 2023. 

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