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University System of Maryland

Sprint Planning for Faster Agile Team Delivery

University System of Maryland and University of Maryland, College Park via edX


Speed is by far the most sought-after benefit of Agile.

First mover advantages, the economic cost of delays, and the enabling effect on innovation drive the search for speed. Agile offers the fastest means of attaining speed: managing scope. But beyond the hype over scope management, there are key principles of non-traditional task management that ensure the scope chosen is delivered as efficiently as possible.

In this course, you'll learn how to drive speed into any project by selecting and limiting work-in-progress through agile planning and task management. There are two principle roles involved, the scrum master and the product owner. However, the entire scrum team needs to understand the principles behind backlog refinement, sprint planning, and execution throughout the sprint cycle.

In this course we'll show you how to run effective sprint planning meetings that produce a sprint backlog ready to deliver on your sprint goals and release objectives. You'll learn the power of prioritizing backlog items, and why we agile planning and sprint planning isn't just a managed list you work top-down in priority order. Instead, scrum teams commit to achieving goals and work together to ensure the user stories that are highest priority get delivered in this sprint, so the upcoming sprint isn't delayed. This also means understanding your team capacity and how to ensure safe and on-time delivery of the highest items on the product backlog that actually matter to your customer.

While this course will not make you an agile certified practitioner (PMI-ACP), or certified scrum master (CSM), it offers a more fundamental agile certification based on agile principles and how sprint planning enables hyper productivity in industry today. You'll finish this course more than ready to continue your agile journey, which we hope takes you to the next course in the series on “Agile Innovation and Problem Solving Skills.”

Upon successful completion of this course, learners can earn 10 Professional Development Unit (PDU) credits, which are recognized by the Project Management Institute (PMI). PDU credits are essential to those looking to maintain certification as a Project Management Professional (PMP).


  • Week 1: The first week focuses the discussion on Agile to its primary benefit, Speed, and how to easily calculate and prove its supremacy in benefits of any project management method because of timing impacts and market changes outside a project manager’s control.

  • Week 2: The second week explores why and how varying scope is the most powerful method to achieve speed; introducing the Exponential Pareto Principle and how to apply it effectively. Perhaps the most important lesson is that not all product backlog items are equal, and in fact, most don't matter at all!

  • Week 3: The third week dives into second tier methods for achieving speed through sizing, simplicity, and sprints with real-world examples ranging from air and space craft to software. Team members work together to ensure a smooth glide on the burndown chart by actively managing work in process during daily scrum sessions.

  • Week 4: The last week teaches ground-level techniques to avoid delays, increase speed, and apply a full range of planning, execution, and control techniques that will guarantee 2x or better improvement on traditional projects. This week is essential to producing a winning product backlog and release plan.

Taught by

John Johnson


4.4 rating, based on 243 Class Central reviews

Start your review of Sprint Planning for Faster Agile Team Delivery

  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    There is a lot of good material, mostly towards the end of the course. However, there is supposed to be bonus material for verified students and only the first course in the series has that material and this one does not.

    Also a lot of the questions on the final tests I think are unfair (asking about specifics not covered), incorrectly (I answered exactly as found in the notes but was marked wrong), poorly worded/ambiguous, and lacking in quality e.g. major typos or boilerplate text that should have been removed but wasn't.

    Overall I found some value in the class but think it wasn't as good as I expected and certainly comes across as a rush job by UMD.
  • Really great course with interesting examples on how to plan for faster agile team delivery. great to see building from the previous course. the examples given and external links were very useful. there were some spelling mistakes and omitted words that were distracting (especially on quizzes) and one time there was a quiz question that pertained to the next section.
  • Anonymous
    The course was interesting. The video updates did not match the summary points. During the Knowledge Checks and the final I had to guess the answer to almost 1/2 of the questions. Also, to earn the extra point, I must identify the tags located on this website. I have not located the tags so I am unable to provide the correct answer. I will continue learn more about Agile but I was disappointed with the content in this course.
  • Anonymous
    Learning sprint in Agile has been so great and I cannot wait to start applying sprint in Agile in my projects
    It will enable me manage my teams more efficiently and deliver projects more faster for customer satisfactions.
    I am a project manager who is handling couple of projects in the construction industry and using these agile methods will enhance my project delivery speed and team innovations and management.
    Limiting work in progress, prioritizing backlogs, timeboxing, buffering, using Steven Covey’s method of planning and using the Agile planning will get me ahead in my projects.
    Thank you so much John for the great lessons
  • Profile image for Tecne Mexico
    Tecne Mexico
    I love the course and I am really sure that will help on mo formation and performance at work and even is giving me the idea to open my own bussines based on the new knowledge. The only thing I do not understand is this thing whit the tags for final survey. It is really hard to find and response on that.
  • Anonymous
    Course was good.

    One of the question in final quiz about positive capability ROI for the leasing of car or going by taxi is totally wrong. In the example done in lecture it is 0.5 whereas answer in the quiz is suggesting 0.7. It is contradictory.
  • Anonymous
    I enjoy the video lectures and find the insights helpful and applicable to a range of industries. Professor Johnson's style is conversational and easy to follow. I agree with another's comment, however, that the assessments occasionally test specifics that are not covered in the video (and are sometimes not covered in the lesson summary, either.) I had no issue passing the course, but failure to answer these few questions correctly makes me think that I missed important terminology or a valuable concept. I did not find this to be the case in the first agile class in the program, and believe that including explanations for some/all of the answered questions could be a useful feature for clarifying any doubts.
  • Anonymous
    Interesting, but not as good as other courses in this series. Supporting material is definitely not very polished (the transcript literally says "mumbling" at some point) and some of the graded questions are difficult to decipher. The quizzes really should provide an explanation to answers that often can be guessed by elimination, to support the learning, rather than assuming the concept is made clear in the answer itself. Part of the grade is based on leaving this review, which doesn't feel too academically honest.
  • Anonymous
    This course was very inspiring, I really enjoyed it and found it both interesting and useful. I enjoy the structure of the course, it allows to stay focused, have some time for thinking and reflecting and continous knowledge checking. Lots of practical examples and graphic information for better remembering. Teacher is very charismatic and it is pleasant to listen to. I found here many valuable insights not only in the context of agile but also for business as a whole and my personal life as well. Highly recommended.
  • Anonymous
    I was disappointed with this course. The numerous spelling and grammar mistakes are very distracting. The concepts taught don't seem widely implemented in industry, like 50/50 estimates as it pertains to agile. I don't feel like concepts are fully explained. I wish it was more obvious where we could reach out if we have questions. I agree with the other commenter regarding the lack of explanation if you get a question wrong on the quiz or final. There is no explanation behind the correct answer.
  • Anonymous
    The course was very beneficial and informative specially for us in DT.

    It’s showing all the techniques to move to a speint agile management.
  • Anonymous
    I really enjoyed this course, and it felt much less conceptually dense than the first one. However, I feel that it doesn't go into as much depth as I would like, and that the videos could go into a bit more detail. I also miss the bullet points appearing one after the other that the previous course had. It was much easier to take notes and make sense of everything when I had the instructor talk through a bullet point, and transition to the next as the slide did. Again, the course also needs some better proofreading.

    Overall, it was a good course, but it definitely needs improvement in the future.
  • Profile image for Yusuf Zubayer
    Yusuf Zubayer
    I found the course interesting and have learnt quite a few things. I work in fintech where agile is used for project management. This course (and the first one) has helped me understand the basics of agile methodology. I will be able to relate to my development team more and hopefully, after completing the all 5 modules, I also can become an active agile practitioner.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    I enjoyed the course more than I'd expected, and look forward to finding ways to incorporate more speed into my team's processes. I can also see that I have a lot to learn. (I fall into the classification of "unofficial project manager" or "default project...
  • Profile image for Juan Luis Valdes
    Juan Luis Valdes
    Great course, it has the precise tools for the acquisition of new knowledge, I consider that it lacks greater agility in the videos and greater electronic support to better understand some topics, however, I consider that it is an easy course to take that does not take so much of your time and that enriches knowledge
  • Anonymous
    Good course but could not find the right answers for the final test so missed something somewhere. Not sure if I am meant to read all the references provided and do do some so was surprised I got a number wrong.
  • Anonymous
    This course is interesting. It helps me understand a completely new thought process on the project management. Lots of technics has been taught. More importance are customer value and speed..........
  • Anonymous
    Good course, but noticed some spelling mistakes in the slides and notes. Nevertheless, I feel like I know much more about Spring Planning than when I started so that's a good thing!
  • Anonymous
    Perfect course. But cant find the tags. Besides i really liked the course. It was really inspirational and useful for the professional day to day
  • Anonymous
    Great course! I really learn a lot and now I can continues learning and improve my career. I like the summary points and the videos. Thank you!

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