The heartbeat of agile development is the iteration – the ability of the team to create working, tested, value-delivered code in a short time frame – with the goal of producing an increment of potentially shippable code at the end of each iteration. This can be a significant challenge for the team, and mastering this skill takes guidance and practice. Part of that practice is implementing a standard two-week iteration window with planning meetings in advance.
Successful iteration planning meetings should conclude with the following outcomes:
An iteration theme; basically, what the iteration is intended to accomplish.
A prioritized list of stories to work on for the iteration.
The stories’ estimated tasks and each task’s assignments.
A commitment by the team to the objectives of the iteration.
Documentation of the plan in a visible place or in a widely accessible tool.
Documentation of the plan not only helps in iterations, but also drives communication.