How Does Bad Sprint Planning Affect Your Sprint’s Success?

Ruth Hadari
Ruth Hadari
Agile Advocate, Engineering Ops Expert
Posted on
Apr 10, 2023
Updated on
Apr 22, 2023
Table of Content


Sprint Planning is an important part of the Agile Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC). Without proper Sprint Planning, a team cannot effectively execute their project and produce successful results. 

While it can be tempting to skip over this crucial step in order to get started with the actual Sprint activities, without it, there will be little clarity on what tasks need to be completed or how they will be accomplished. 

This can lead to confusion and frustration among team members as well as missed deadlines and poor quality work products. It’s essential for teams that use Agile methods to understand why Sprint Planning is so important and how Sprint Planning impacts the success of their projects. 

Understanding Sprint Planning

Sprint Planning is an essential part of every Scrum team's development cycle. This important event establishes the product development goal and plans for the upcoming Sprint, bringing together the whole team to align on what work needs to be done in order to reach that objective. 

During a Sprint Planning session, the team will review its Product Backlog, decide which items need to be prioritized, and then compile them into a Sprint Goal and backlog which outlines how these tasks will be achieved throughout the duration of the Sprint. 

Through this process, understanding what can realistically be achieved within their time frame is established and communicated effectively among all stakeholders.

Why Is Sprint Planning Important?

Sprint Planning is a key component of any successful delivery. Poor Sprint Planning can have serious consequences on the success of a project or product. Sprint Planning allows the product owner to ensure that the team has enough knowledge, resources, and commitment to deliver the desired outcome. 

It also helps set expectations for what needs to be done and when it needs to be done, so everyone involved is on the same page about how their efforts will contribute to meeting their goal. When Sprint Planning isn’t done properly, teams may end up taking more time than necessary on tasks, which can lead to delays in completing projects. 

Additionally, poor Sprint Planning could mean that there are too many tasks identified at one time and not enough resources allocated among them, resulting in incomplete tasks and an overall lack of progress. 

How Does Bad Sprint Planning Affect Sprint Success?

Bad Sprint Planning can lead to a number of unfavorable outcomes, including missed deadlines, angry stakeholders, decreased morale and costly rework. 

A poorly planned and managed Sprint can easily derail team performance, resulting in difficulty completing tasks or reaching goals within the allotted time frame. Unfortunately, bad Sprint Planning has become increasingly common as companies rush to deliver products faster than ever before.

At its core, bad Sprint Planning involves making overly ambitious commitments without considering all the details that need to be taken into account. When teams fail to properly plan out their Sprints they run the risk of biting off more than they can chew—attempting too much work with too little time and resources. 

Without proper context and assessment, Sprint Planning can quickly become a race to the finish line without accounting for the various obstacles that might arise throughout the process.

Bad Sprint Planning also has an impact on team dynamics, as it often leads to resentment and frustration among team members. When teams makecommitments they cannot keep or fail to deliver on their promises, employees can become disengaged and lose trust in the process. 

Without proper collaboration between team members or effective communication from leadership, teams will struggle to reach their goals and complete Sprints efficiently.

Finally, bad Sprint Planning has a financial impact as well. Poorly executed Sprint plans often result in costly mistakes that take extra time and resources to correct. Teams can end up spending more time and money fixing issues that were preventable if they had taken the time to properly plan their Sprints in the first place.

Advantages of Good Sprint Planning

Enhanced Focus

Having an increased focus on each task or feature makes team members stay productive while avoiding distractions from other projects or tasks. This heightened level of focus also allows teams to complete projects faster, which increases morale and boosts motivation and engagement.

Increased Morale

Good Sprint Planning has the potential to improve morale among team members. When every individual’s opinion is given equal importance and respect, it creates a feeling of being valued within the team. This sense of belonging leads to improved motivation among team members, who are more willing to align their personal interests with those of the organization. 

This heightened motivation results in higher productivity and better overall performance. Furthermore, good Sprint Planning allows teams to collaborate and brainstorm ideas that can be used for further improvements. 

With no restrictions from hierarchical structures, teams can feel free to share ideas without fear of criticism or judgment, leading to an atmosphere of trust that motivates everyone involved. 

Higher Work Quality

Good Sprint Planning helps teams produce higher-quality work by taking a comprehensive approach that focuses on specific tasks and user stories. With clarity of purpose, team members can make informed decisions about how to develop a successful solution for complicated problems. 

This kind of focused approach also allows them to hone their skill sets and take ownership of their projects. Good Sprint Planning ensures that each project is tackled thoughtfully with an eye toward long-term success by leveraging the expertise of each individual within a team.

Increased Transparency

Good Sprint Planning ensures that all members of the Agile or Scrum team are working from a unified understanding of what “done” means for each task. 

This way, no one is duplicating the same work and everyone has the same vision in mind for the final deliverable. Transparency also helps ensure that the goals of the project are met more efficiently as team members collaborate together and communicate clearly about their progress. 

Furthermore, this improved visibility into tasks helps keep track of progress toward completion and allows teams to make data-driven decisions quickly and accurately.

How to Avoid Bad Sprint Planning

Common Sprint Planning Mistakes to Avoid

When it comes to Sprint Planning, there are several common mistakes that can lead to unsuccessful and inefficient Sprints. To ensure your sprint’s success and efficiency, here are some of the most common Sprint Planning mistakes to avoid:

1. Not Allowing Enough Time for the Planning Process

Sprint Planning should be a thorough and meticulous process that allows for ample time to review all the necessary information, define goals and tasks, discuss any risks or issues, assign resources, etc. Skipping steps or failing to allow enough time can result in an incomplete plan which will undoubtedly lead to an unsuccessful Sprint.

2. Lack of Clarity on Expectations

All stakeholders must understand what is expected from them throughout the course of the Sprint. Without a clear understanding of expectations, team members are likely to feel lost and confused which can lead to mistakes and delays. You must ensure everyone is on the same page about what is expected during planning, execution, and review phases of the Sprint.

3. Not Setting Measurable Goals

At the end of the day, you want your Sprints to be successful and reach their predetermined goals. To do this, it’s essential that you set clear objectives with measurable results so that progress can be tracked throughout the course of the Sprint.

4. Failing to Consider Potential Risks or Issues

No matter how much planning goes into a Sprint, there are always risks or issues that could arise along the way. It’s important to take the time to identify potential risks or issues and discuss strategies for mitigating them during Sprint Planning.

5. Not Properly Allocating Resources

Poor resource allocation can lead to inefficiencies, delays, and poor quality work. Before committing to a task or goal, it’s important to make sure you have enough resources (such as people and materials) available to ensure successful execution of that task.

By avoiding these common Sprint Planning mistakes, you can increase your chances of achieving successful Sprints with efficient outcomes. It may take some extra time up front but investing in thorough Sprint Planning will ultimately save you time and money in the long run.

Tips to Avoid Bad Sprint Planning

Bad Sprint Planning can have a major impact on the success of your Sprint. It's important to take the time and effort necessary to plan each Sprint and develop processes that ensure successful outcomes. Here are some tips to avoid bad Sprint Planning: 

1. Use Sprint Planning Tools 

Many software development teams use Agile and Sprint Planning tools, like Jira or Trello, to help them plan their Sprints more effectively. These tools allow you to visualize your progress, track tasks, assign resources, and set deadlines for each item in the backlog. 

2. Establish Clear Objectives and Priorities

When developing objectives for a Sprint, it's important to be specific about what needs to be accomplished during that period of time. This allows you to create a roadmap and prioritize tasks to ensure that everyone is working on the same page. 

3. Use Accurate Estimations

Estimating how long a task will take can be tricky, but it's essential for successful Sprint Planning. One great way to establish accurate estimations is to utilize planning poker.

By playing planning poker, team members can engage in open discussions and share their perspectives on the complexity of the tasks, leading to a more accurate estimation. It promotes transparency and consensus-building among team members, helping them to align their understanding of the tasks and identify potential risks or dependencies. Accurate estimations obtained through planning poker enable teams to effectively plan their sprint backlog, allocate resources, and set realistic sprint goals. This ultimately leads to a sprint's success by reducing the risk of overcommitment, improving team productivity, and increasing the chances of delivering a high-quality product increment by the end of the sprint.

4. Define Milestones 

Establishing milestones is important because it gives your team something to measure progress against throughout the Sprint. This can help keep the team focused on completing the right tasks at the right time and avoid any last-minute surprises that could derail your overall plan. 

5. Get Buy-In from the Team

Make sure everyone involved understands what is expected of them and why. This will help foster an environment where everyone feels invested in the Sprint and its success. 

Taking time to plan your Sprint properly can save a lot of headaches down the road. By taking these steps, you can ensure that each Sprint runs smoothly and successfully. With careful consideration and proper planning, your team can achieve their goals with ease. 


Bad Sprint Planning can have serious implications for the success of your sprint. Without proper planning, many tasks may be left incomplete or not completed on time. This can lead to friction between team members, confusion over which tasks are a priority, and a lack of focus when it comes to getting the job done. 

It is important that you take the appropriate steps to ensure adequate planning is done prior to beginning any work. It requires commitment from every member of the team, but can yield exceptional results if done correctly. 

Thankfully with GoRetro's platform managing your Sprints has never been easier! Our intuitive user interface allows teams to effortlessly plan and track the progress of their Sprints. 

With easy-to-understand graphs and charts, everyone on the team can see exactly what has been done and what still needs to be accomplished. GoRetro is a powerful tool that helps teams stay productive and focused so they can achieve maximum success during each Sprint. Try it out today and see how it can help you build amazing Sprints! 

About the author

Ruth Hadari
Agile Advocate, Engineering Ops Expert

Highly experienced in leading multi-organizational teams, groups, in-shore as well as off-shore. The go-to person who is able to simplify the complex. An agile advocate, experienced in all common methodologies. Responsible for the entire software development lifecycle process from development, QA, DevOps, Automation to delivery including overall planning, direction, coordination, execution, implementation, control and completion. Drives execution, and communicates on status, risks, metrics, risk-mitigation and processes across R&D.

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