If you’re managing a software team, there’s a good chance you’re assigning tasks in iterations or sprints. Here at monday.com, we want to help you plan out your sprints quickly and efficiently! Let's check out how you can keep track of your backlog, assign tasks for each sprint, and track your progress!
What is sprint planning?
Sprint planning is a project management strategy using short increments to divide and assign tasks within a team. A product manager or developer can use the system to determine how to tackle a backlog full of tasks by assigning smaller tasks to team members in specific, relatively short, time periods. Spring Planning is an excellent way for teams to prioritize their upcoming tasks and set a schedule towards completing tasks. Now, let’s start building our board!
We’ve provided a 5 step guide below to show you how to create a board for Sprint Planning! Let's get started! 🎉
Build a sprint planning board
The first step to mastering sprint planning is building a designated board to record and assign all of our team's tasks. We can build the board from scratch or choose a customizable ready-made board from the Templates Center! We can find a few options in the "Software Development" section or type "sprint planning" in the search bar. Let's choose the "Sprint Planning Board" from the Templates Center:
For more inspiration, we can also check out this monday.com story, created by us here at monday.com, and add it as a template directly to our board.
Customize your board
Once we've added either a new board or a template, it's time to think about how we'd like to customize our board to perfectly suit our needs! Specifically, let's consider how we'd like to structure the groups, columns, and items that make up our board.
On this Sprint Planning Board, we've chosen to divide the items into groups that represent each sprint, with one group representing the backlog of unassigned tasks that need to be done. This way, we can take a look at all of our tasks together in the "Backlog" group and move them into the group representing the sprint in which we'd like to tackle them.
Other options are to group our items by priority, tags, time commitment, project they belong to, or by anything we can think of that will best benefit our team!
Once we've finished setting up our groups, it's time to add our items. Here, we've added items that are each individual tasks to be done. We first add items to our backlog, and then head over to our columns to add descriptive information before we decide which sprint each item belongs in.
Now, we're ready to load up our board with columns to help us give our items structure and details. We can choose from over 30 different columns that allow us to customize our board and ensure that we can fill our items with all of the information necessary to decide when we need to tackle each task and who we should assign them to.
Here are some key columns included in the "Sprint Planning Board" template:
- People Column: This column allows the project manager to assign the team member responsible for each task. The People Column is a really helpful way to create accountability and to help our team visualize workload distribution and avoid over-allocating tasks.
- Numbers Column: We can use this column to mark how long each task is expected to take so that we can properly allot tasks to each sprint. The column settings can be customized to show different units, such as days or hours, and we can add a summary to calculate total time or effort within a group.
- Status Column: This column helps us track the status of our tasks so we know where everything in our board stands at all times! We can add several different Status Columns and customize the labels to indicate priority, type of task, phase, or project status.
Assign tasks and plan sprints
Once everything is inputted into our board, we can really see the big picture and begin assigning tasks to team members using the People Column and organizing them into sprints. We can take a look at our backlog and then decide which tasks to move to which sprints based on parameters such as developer assigned or priority. Let's check out a few ways to make this process smooth and quick!
- Drag and drop
We can reorder one item on our board at a time by clicking the item and dragging it to another group in our board! We can use this method to move items from our backlog into the sprint we'd like to tackle it in.
- Batch Actions
If we want to move several tasks at once, we can select them by ticking the little box in the colored section of the item to enable batch actions! When we've selected all of the items that we want to move to the same group, we'll head to the batch actions tool bar at the bottom of the screen, click "Move to", and then select the destination group's name!
Check out this article to learn more about batch actions!
If we have certain conditions that automatically classify our tasks into certain upcoming sprints, we can use automations! For example, we can use an automation to automatically move an item into "Sprint 1" whenever its priority changes to "High", when the due date approaches, or notify the project manager when an item has been in the backlog for a certain amount of time.
To learn more about the different automation recipes, and how to create your own, check out this article.
Plan sprints visually
It's easy to plan out our sprints or check on the status of our planned sprints when everything is laid out visually! The Kanban View will divide all of the items on our board into neat cards based on the Status Colum of our choice! We can move items between cards and change any of the details in our columns right from the view!
Plot out a timeline
Once we have our sprints planned out, we can see them in context by adding a Gantt View to our board! We can see where all of our items fall in a calendar so we can make sure the time frame we've set for all of the tasks within our sprint make sense! We can color the items by their status so that we can see where everything stands in a glance, or by developer assigned to make sure we've distributed the workload evenly to our team members!
Unify communication with GitHub
We can use the GitHub Integration to unify communication and deploys in one place. When committing changes based on a task on our board, we can '#' the item ID in the commit message and use our native GitHub Integration to have the commit appear as an update on that item!
Other columns that might be helpful
While we covered a few columns that we think are vital to this workflow, there are so many other columns that will help suit your board to our team's unique needs! Let's take a look at a few:
- Files Column - Is there an item that's connected to a PDF, Word document, or image? We can add any files related to the item into the Files Column for reference, or use it to upload a copy of the completed task once its finished!
- Dependency Column - Are there tasks in our backlog that must be completed before our team can begin on another task? We can outline dependencies between tasks to help us prioritize and plan our sprints!
- Rating Column - We can use this column to rank the priority or impact of a task.
- Creation Log Column - This column automatically records the date that an item was created in our board, so that we know how long each task has been sitting in our backlog to help us move things along in a timely manner.
- Time Tracking Column - We can track the time spent working on each of our tasks to help us evaluate our timelines and budget out our time throughout our sprints.
For more options, check out the list of columns we offer right here, or visit the Column Center!
We hope these tips will help you kick-start your sprint planning with monday.com but encourage you to explore even more features to help you customize your workflow!
If you have any questions, please reach out to our team by using our contact form. We're available 24/7 and happy to help!