When it comes to updates, you may find you need to prioritize your projects based on your company’s goals. For instance, you may prioritize updates that address retention if you have a high customer churn. Updates that drive growth may get top billing if you are struggling with customer acquisition. Or perhaps you have low LTV and need to put more emphasis on monetization. Whatever your startup’s priority is, you will need to allocate resources to the features and updates that help you reach your goal. 

Managing the never-ending cycle of product improvement and updates can be challenging — but many companies employ planning sprints to structure the iterative process. 

“Sprint planning is an event in the Scrum framework where the team determines the product backlog items they will work on during that sprint and discusses their initial plan for completing those product backlog items.” — Agile Alliance

The sprint process begins with a planning meeting where all parties agree on the tasks and projects that need to be completed during the upcoming sprint. This is your chance to align priorities and revisit your roadmap to ensure your team is working toward the right goal. Before getting started, address a few questions to plan your sprint:

  • What is the overall goal — is it simply a question of producing a new feature, or are you working toward a larger goal of mitigating risk?
  • Are there tasks related to the sprint that is already complete? 
  • Identify vacations or holidays that will impact availability during the sprint — and use this information to determine your team’s capacity.
  • What items will the team include on the sprint backlog based on the sprint goal and the team’s capacity? (A backlog is a list of tasks identified by the Scrum team to be completed during a sprint.)

The agile model of development that sprints emerged from suggests daily standup meetings — aka “the daily scrum” — to keep on top of progress. In these meetings, each team member shares what they did the previous day, keeping the whole team up to speed. Everyone also shares what they plan to work on that day and raises flags about possible impediments to their progress. 

For the more visually-minded, you can use a Sprint Burndown Chart — “a visual measurement tool that shows the completed work per day against the projected rate of completion for the current sprint.” However you choose to track your progress, a product manager will likely head up the process — so it’s important to have the right person in place, and I’ll cover that in my next article. 

The article is also published on LinkedIn.

Author

Lomit Patel is the Vice President of Growth at IMVU. Prior to IMVU, Lomit managed growth at early-stage startups including Roku (IPO), TrustedID (acquired by Equifax), Texture (acquired. by Apple) and EarthLink. Lomit is a public speaker, author, advisor, featured in Forbes Magazine and recognized as a Mobile Hero by Liftoff. Lomit’s new bestselling book Lean AI, is part of Eric Ries' "The Lean Startup" series.