How to Improve Sprint Planning to Ensure Timely Delivery

Ruth Hadari
Ruth Hadari
Agile Advocate, Engineering Ops Expert
Posted on
Apr 12, 2023
Updated on
Apr 22, 2023
Table of Content

Effective Sprint Planning is essential for timely delivery of any project. Sprint Planning helps teams understand their tasks and responsibilities as well as the timeline needed to complete them. It also provides a framework for collaboration, thereby ensuring that everyone is on the same page and knows what their roles are. 

Therefore, it is important to ensure that you have an effective strategy in place for your Sprint Planning process so that you can hit your deadlines and deliver top-notch results. In this blog post, we will explore how you can improve your Sprint Planning process to ensure the timely delivery of projects and initiatives. 

We will also discuss best practices that can help make sure your team remains on track, identifies upcoming obstacles quickly, and keeps momentum throughout the entire project. 

What Is the Importance of Timely Delivery?

Timely delivery is of paramount importance to any project or task. Delays can have a number of negative implications and can put the team, stakeholders, and customers in a difficult spot. 

If there are delays in delivery, customers may be dissatisfied with the quality of service and may look elsewhere for alternative solutions. This could lead to customer churn and loss of potential future business opportunities. 

On the other hand, if you deliver on time, then customers will trust your services more and spread positive word-of-mouth about you which leads to increased brand loyalty and customer satisfaction. 

For stakeholders such as investors or sponsors, timely delivery shows that their investments are being managed responsibly. This not only builds trust in the team but may also lead to increased investments. In addition, stakeholders can measure the progress of the project against its original timeline and take necessary corrective action if need be. 

Finally, for the team itself, timely delivery ensures they have sufficient space to plan for future sprints and manage tasks efficiently. If delays occur due to mismanagement or lack of organization, it can lead to morale drops, burnout, and general dissatisfaction with their work. This can result in a decrease in productivity which affects future deadlines as well as team dynamics. 

In short, timely delivery is essential for any successful project or task because it helps build customer loyalty, satisfy stakeholders, and allows the team to work optimally. Therefore, it is important to ensure that Sprint Planning is done efficiently in order to deliver on time. 

What Are the Common Issues That Cause Delayed Delivery?

Sprint Spillover

Delayed delivery of projects is one of the most common issues project teams face, as it can lead to missed deadlines and decreased customer satisfaction. 

One of the primary causes for delayed delivery is Sprint spillover, which occurs when a team underestimates or misjudges how long it will take them to complete their tasks. Sprint spillover happens when the time allotted for a task exceeds the duration of the Sprint, which causes delays in delivering the product and reduces overall productivity. 

For example, if a software development team has been given 10 days to develop an application but fails to account for unforeseen complexity in certain parts of the codebase or any additional tasks that may require more time than expected, then they might be unable to finish within this duration. This is an example of Sprint spillover, as the team has gone beyond the 10 days originally allotted for the task.

Long Testing Cycles

Testing is an integral and important step of a software development lifecycle as it helps identify bugs, errors, and other issues that could affect the quality of the product. However, long testing cycles can cause delays in delivery. Long testing cycles usually occur when there are too many tests to be completed or when those tests require too much time to execute. 

For example, if a software development team has to thoroughly test its code for every feature or check for certain compatibility requirements, it can take several days or even weeks before the product is ready to be delivered.

Long testing cycles can also occur when there are too many resources dedicated to testing a single task. This often happens when developers have limited resources and try to do too much testing in a short period of time. Long testing cycles can be further exacerbated by other external factors such as changes in the environment or the introduction of new technologies.

Scope Creep

Scope creep is an issue that can be a major cause of delayed delivery in Sprint Planning. It occurs when the scope of a project or task expands beyond what was originally planned. 

This can happen if the customer changes their requirements, new features are added, or there are unexpected delays in other areas. As the project scope grows, the timeline for completion may become too long to deliver on time.

This is especially problematic when it comes to Sprint Planning because even small changes to scope can have ripple effects throughout the rest of the process. 

Even something as simple as adding a single feature could mean more work needs to be done earlier in order to accommodate it later on. This often leads to teams having to re-plan and adjust timelines and resources as they go along, which can lead to project delays.

Ineffective Sprint Reviews

Sprint Reviews are an essential part of any Agile software development life cycle. They are a way to inspect and assess the progress of the project from both a technical and business perspective. Without regular Sprint Reviews, teams can easily become disorganized, leading to confusion and delays in delivery.

Ineffective Sprint Reviews can have serious consequences for product delivery. When not done properly, it can cause major disruption in timelines and milestones. 

For example, if reviews are not designed accurately enough or fail to capture certain aspects of the project's progress, then important tasks might go unaccounted for or slip through the cracks. This can lead to missed deadlines or incomplete projects as products fall behind schedule with no clear plan on how they will be completed. 

Furthermore, if the reviews are conducted in an unstructured manner, then teams may not be able to reach a unified consensus about objectives and targets. Without a clear direction or vision, developers will lack focus and become inefficient. This could lead to missed deadlines as well as increased development costs due to extended timelines.

Unrealistic Sprint Goals

Unrealistic Sprint Goals are one of the main reasons why timely delivery is often delayed. It is important to set realistic, achievable goals for each Sprint and ensure that all stakeholders have an understanding of what is expected. 

When setting goals for a Sprint, it’s essential to consider the team’s workload, skillset, and available resources. If these areas are not taken into account when creating a goal list or timeline, it can cause unrealistic expectations and lead to problems with meeting deadlines.

How to Improve Sprint Planning to Ensure Timely Delivery

Sprint Spillover

Ensuring timely delivery of a project is one of the primary objectives of any Sprint Planning. However, it can be challenging to achieve if Sprints spill over into each other. To avoid this situation, proper Sprint Planning must take place in order to estimate the amount of work that can realistically be completed within a given period of time. 

How do you handle Sprint Spillover?

One way to minimize the risk of having Sprints spillover is by breaking down large tasks into smaller ones. This helps individuals focus on their assigned tasks without getting overwhelmed by complex projects. It also makes it easier to estimate the amount of time that will be required to complete each task. 

Additionally, teams should work together to prioritize tasks and focus on the most important ones first. This helps ensure that all essential tasks are completed and prevents unnecessary Sprint spilling over into a later period. 

Another way to limit or avoid Sprint spillover is by ensuring that team members have the necessary resources for their projects. If a team member does not have access to the tools they need, then this can lead to delays in project completion and cause cascading effects leading to further delays down the line. 

Therefore, it is important for organizations to provide adequate resources before starting a Sprint so that everyone has what they require in order to finish their respective tasks. 

Long Testing Cycles

When it comes to ensuring timely delivery during the Sprint Planning process, one of the key factors for success is limiting long testing cycles. 

The testing phase is an essential step in the development process as it ensures that all bugs are identified and rectified before product launch. However, if left unchecked, testing can often become a lengthy process that delays project delivery. With this in mind, Sprint Planning should always include strategies for streamlining the testing cycle and reducing its duration. 

Automation Testing

One such strategy is automation testing, which allows developers to quickly check their code against predetermined conditions without having to manually review every line of code. 

Automated tests can be scheduled overnight or at other times when manual testers aren’t available so that they don’t interfere with other tasks. Similarly, unit tests can be written to check the functionality of individual methods or classes in an application, allowing developers to quickly identify and fix any bugs

Another strategy is test-driven development, which involves writing tests before coding so that developers are aware of what they need to achieve before they even begin writing code. 

By taking this approach, developers will have a clearer idea of exactly what needs to be done and how long it should take, making it easier for them to stick to their timelines. It also gives testers more time to review the code before launch so that any errors or issues are identified and rectified well in advance.

Scope Creep

Sprint Planning can be subject to scope creep—when new features or changes are added mid-project that wasn’t initially planned for. This can lead to delays, cost overruns, and frustrated team members. To ensure the timely delivery of your project, it’s important to limit scope creep during Sprint Planning. 

Functionality List

One way to do this is by creating a list of all the functionalities you intend to deliver in each Sprint at the beginning of the project. This should include any key features as well as bug fixes and improvements you want to make. When Sprint Planning, make sure the team sticks to this list and avoids adding anything that wasn’t initially planned for. This will help keep your project on track. 

Change Board

Another way to limit scope creep is by introducing a ‘change board’ process into your Sprint Planning meetings. Here, all requests for changes or additions must be discussed and voted on by the whole team before they can be added. 

This ensures any new tasks are carefully considered before being prioritized and added to the project plan. It also helps ensure that all team members are aware of any changes and have their say in how they should be implemented. 


Finally, it’s important to remember that not every change or addition to the project needs to be included. If something can wait until the next Sprint, or if it’s not absolutely essential for the success of the project, then it should be left out and added later on. This will help you focus on delivering what is most important in a timely manner.

Ineffective Sprint Reviews

Sprint Planning is an important part of any project, as it helps ensure that tasks are completed in a timely manner. However, Sprint Reviews can often be ineffective if they are not properly planned out.

Here’s how you can improve Sprint Planning to ensure timely delivery and limit the occurrence of ineffective Sprint Reviews. 

1. The first step in improving the effectiveness of Sprint Reviews is to plan ahead for them. Before launching a new Sprint Review, team members should determine what needs to be discussed and come up with solutions for any potential issues that may arise during the review process. 

2. Additionally, team members should set clear expectations for each other and make sure everyone understands their roles in order to avoid confusion or delays during the process. 

3. It is also important for teams to communicate regularly during Sprint Reviews. Team members should provide feedback and ask questions about the progress of each task during these meetings so that everyone is aware of what needs to be done and how much time it will take. 

4. Additionally, team members should make sure that any new tasks or changes in plans are discussed with everyone involved in order to avoid any misunderstandings or delays. 

5. Finally, teams should use the recommended Sprint Planning tools in order to ensure that all tasks are tracked and documented accurately. Tools such as project management software can provide useful features like task tracking, resource allocation, deadline management, and progress reports in order to keep track of the team’s performance.

Unrealistic Sprint Goals

When planning Sprints, it’s important to set realistic goals. Unrealistic expectations can lead to delays and frustration among the team members, which can have a negative impact on both morale and product delivery. To ensure the timely delivery of the project, taking into account the available resources and capabilities is key. Here are some ways to limit unrealistic Sprint Goals: 

Estimate task complexity accurately: Sprint Planning should include an accurate assessment of task complexity as this will help determine how much time each task should take. By taking into account all aspects such as development requirements, design considerations, testing processes, etc., you can better assess how long each task will take and plan accordingly. 

Break projects into smaller modules: Another way to ensure timely delivery is to break large tasks into smaller modules. This makes it easier to track progress, set realistic deadlines, and identify potential problems before they become too large. By breaking up projects into manageable chunks, you can also more accurately estimate the time needed for each step in the process. 

Use data from previous projects: Looking at data from past projects can give you an idea of what works and what doesn’t when it comes to Sprint Planning. Keeping a record of project metrics such as velocity, cycle times and throughput can help you plan better for future Sprints by setting more realistic expectations and allocating resources accordingly. 

Involve the team in planning:  One of the best ways to ensure accurate Sprint Planning is to involve the team in the process. The team should be able to provide a realistic assessment of their capabilities and skill levels so that tasks can be assigned accordingly. Involving the team also helps ensure that everyone on the team is aware of their responsibilities, timeline expectations, and task deadlines. 


Improving Sprint Planning can be complex and time-consuming. To ensure the timely delivery of projects, it is important to plan out your Sprints with care and attention. By using GoRetro, you have access to the best project management tools for organizing and tracking your Sprints. This makes it easy to view progress, set milestones, and keep everyone on the same page. 

With GoRetro’s suite of features, you can rest assured that your team's productivity will remain high throughout the entire duration of a project, ensuring that each task is successfully completed within its allocated timeline. Start using GoRetro today and take control of your projects!

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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