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Agile sprints: an intro to Zenhub Sprint Planning

Note: Zenhub's full feature set is unlocked when you connect your GitHub Organization to Zenhub


What are agile sprints?

In Agile methodology, sprints are a fixed length of time (typically between 2-4 weeks) during which an agreed-upon chunk of work is completed and ready to be shipped. Sprints are a key aspect of agile methodology, as a regular sprint cadence enables teams to focus and decide on what work can provide immediate value to an end-user in a short, pre-defined period of time. Read this for more info on sprints in agile methodology. 

What is Sprint Planning in Zenhub?

Zenhub Sprint Planning allows teams to group Issues together that will be completed within a defined timeframe. Zenhub sprints, once activated in Zenhub, will occur automatically on a schedule set by the user at the workspace level. They can also be configured to automatically move uncompleted issues forward into the next sprint and populate the next sprint using the team’s backlog and calculated velocity.

Key highlights of sprints

  • One issue can live in multiple sprints

  • Sprints are native to Zenhub and are not tied to GitHub

  • New sprints are created automatically when others close. You have the option to automatically move incomplete issues to the next sprint

How to create sprints in Zenhub

To set up Zenhub sprints for your team, select “Create…” on the lefthand sidebar or the green “+” on the top right corner of your board, then select “Set up sprints for your team.” This might say “Modify recurring sprints,” if this sprint already exists.

From here, you can:

1. Schedule sprints: Select the start and end date of your first sprint from the calendar.  When selecting a date, Zenhub will also automatically create two future sprints based on the original set timeframe. 

Note: To ensure your sprints run consecutively without any gaps, make sure your start date day is ahead of your end date day. Eg. To set up a one-week sprint that starts on a Tuesday, set your start date as Tuesday and the end date as the following Monday.

2. Enable unfinished issues to move to the next sprint: When you create a Sprint, you will be able to enable all Issues assigned to the current sprint that has not yet been closed to move to the next Sprint automatically. With Zenhub sprints, Issues can live in multiple sprints. When unfinished or incomplete issues move from your past sprint to the new current sprint, the issues will continue to exist in the sprint they are being moved from (i.e, these issues will belong to two sprints)

3. Enable sprints to be automatically built: By toggling this option on, Zenhub automatically builds sprints for you using your backlog. A suggested average velocity from your previous sprints will appear when you enable this function. You can adjust the number of story points you'd like added to your next sprint and the pipeline you'd like issues added from. Zenhub will automatically add issues from the top of this pipeline to your sprint. 

Note: Issues that are not already estimated will be counted with the value of 2 Story Points when being added into the Sprint from your backlog pipeline.  

Tip: We'd recommend running backlog refinement meetings to ensure your backlog is in order. Your backlog should be prioritized with the most important issues at the top. These issues should have clear acceptance criteria and be estimated. Learn more here

Managing sprints in Zenhub

Modifying your sprint schedule

To change the sprint duration and schedule, select the green + icon located in the top right of your Workspace and select Modify recurring sprints.

Above the calendar, you'll see the option "Change sprint schedule." From here, you can select your new dates:

Adding issues to sprints

Adding a single Issue to a sprint

Select the individual Issue you want to add to a sprint. On the right-hand side, under “Sprints,” click on the gear icon to assign a sprint timeline.  

Add multiple Issues to sprints

To add multiple issues to a sprint, go to your board, hold down the “Shift” key, and select all your Issues. When viewing issue cards on the Board, you can see the sprint your issues belong to as they have a lightning strike icon next to the sprint.

Filtering by sprint

The great thing about sprints is it allows you to filter your Kanban board by a defined timeframe. To filter by sprint, choose the “Sprints”  filter at the top of your board and only view the Issues that are part of the desired sprint:

Renaming sprints

Does your team like to follow a specific naming convention for sprints? Within Zenhub, you can edit the names of your sprints. To rename sprints, select the green “+” icon located in the top right of your Workspace and select “Modify recurring sprints.” From here, hover over the names of your upcoming sprints and you will have the option to rename the sprints:

What happens when a sprint closes in Zenhub? 

When the current sprint closes, the next sprint becomes the current sprint, and a new sprint is added after the furthest sprint. Note that since a sprint is a collection of work done during a specific period of time, once the time window has passed, the sprint cannot be reopened.

Using sprints in other Zenhub features

Sprints in Zenhub Reporting

Burndown report: The Burndown report will show Zenhub sprint data. Burndown charts break down your completed issues, open issues, and any incomplete issues within the sprint. Incomplete means that an issue was completed out of the scope of the sprint (completed after the end date).

Velocity report: The Velocity report shows sprints side-by-side.  Sprints are per workspace, so they will always show their total value, disregarding the repo filter. 

Since sprints are Zenhub data, burndown charts and the velocity report will load up to 15x faster

Sprints in Zenhub Roadmaps

You can view Roadmaps in Zenhub by Weeks, Months, or Fiscal Quarters. To see how your sprints align with the roadmap, select either “weeks” or “months” in the top navigation bar. When sorted by weeks or months, sprint timelines will appear at the very top of the roadmap. 

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