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Conducting an Agile Project Kick-off & Sprint 0 Session

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A common misconception about Agile projects is that they lack planning and documentation when conversely, planning in Agile projects occurs continuously throughout each sprint. Additionally, when kicking off a new Agile project, it too requires preparation and supporting documentation for sign-off. Any information that will ensure all team members, subject matter experts (SMEs), key stakeholders, and sponsors are on the same page in terms of the goals to be achieved and the criteria by which success will be measured - should be incorporated. Moreover, to ensure a successful start to the Agile project, a well-prepared kick-off meeting is a must.

Agile Project Kick-off Agenda

The Agile Project Kick-off agenda should convey the high-level project overview and overarching strategy, project vision and scope, team roles and responsibilities, as well as the Agile approach and supporting ceremonies to be used. At the end of the kick-off meeting, the team should have an action plan for next steps.

If any of the team members, SMEs, key stakeholders, and sponsors are unfamiliar with Agile or the approach, time should be allotted for a light introduction and plans made to provide formalized (group) training of team members at a later date.

The following information should be covered during the Agile Project Kick-off:

Agenda Item Content Goal
Project Overview
  • Goals / Introduction to Effort
  • Project Vision / Scope
  • Deliverables
  • Success Criteria
  • Assumptions
  • Expectations
  • Risks
  • Design / Architectural Review
  • Test Environment
  • Technical / Business Dependencies
  • Sponsor
  • Key Stakeholders
  • Escalation Points
Discuss a high-level project summary and requirements of the effort. Include any supporting documentation. (e.g. Agile project charter, mindmap, architectural / design, etc.)
Team Roles
  • Product Owner
  • Scrum Master
  • Team Members
Introduce the team, their roles and responsibilities, and provide the chain of communication. (i.e. requirements and changes flow through the Product Owner)
Introduction of Approach
  • Agile Values & Principles
  • Scrum Values, Roles, & Ceremonies
  • DevSecOps (Technical Efforts)
Light introduction to Agile values and principles and the approach the Team will use. (i.e. Scrum, Kanban, DevSecOps, etc.)
Scrum Ceremonies
  • Daily Standup
  • Sprint Planning
  • Sprint Grooming
  • Sprint Review (Demo)
  • Sprint Retrospective
Introduce the supporting ceremonies and how they will be used to reinforce communication throughout the effort. (i.e. reiterate to the audience the need for prioritization and attendance)
Team Norms
  • Working Board (JIRA)
  • Folders / Confluence Site
Ensure all parties have access to the working board and supporting resources of information.
Next Steps
  • Action Plan
Determine sprint start date for the team. Schedule Sprint 0 session. Identify any items that require follow-up.

Sprint 0 Session

Further, as either an extension of the Agile Project Kick-off, or as a scheduled separate meeting to kick off the team’s effort, the Sprint 0 session should focus on the needs of the Team. Other attendees can be relieved or the Scrum Master can schedule the separate session with the Product Owner and team members. The following information should be covered during the Sprint 0 Session:

Agenda Item Content Goal
Scrum Ceremonies Identify Schedule
  • Daily Standup
  • Sprint Planning
  • Sprint Grooming
  • Sprint Review (Demo)
  • Sprint Retrospective
Re-cap and discuss the schedule for the team’s ceremonies.
Team Norms
  • Working Board (JIRA)
  • Folders / Confluence Site
  • Definition of Ready
  • Definition of Done
Discuss how the working board is organized and how supporting resources will be used. Establish the team norms for the flow of information / story cards. (e.g. working board status columns, what defines ready-to-work and ready-to-test story cards, etc.)
Story Cards
  • User Story Writing
  • Estimation & Story Pointing
Discuss the needs for writing story cards and what is required for “ready” status. Walk the team through process of estimating and pointing story cards. (e.g. Description, Acceptance Criteria, Story Points, etc.)

Good Reads

These are good references for conducting an Agile Project Kick-off & Sprint 0 Session:

Agile Misconceptions