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Plan a sprint

Every sprint starts with a planning meeting. When planning a sprint, your team would typically commit to deliver a set of stories that are pulled from the top of the backlog. In Jira Software, you view sprints on a board and assign issues to sprints. You can search for issues in upcoming sprints using JQL (Sprint field). This involves creating a sprint, assigning stories to the sprint, and starting the sprint. The instructions on this page will help you complete these activities.

Before you begin

  • Sprints only apply to Scrum boards.

  • You must have ranking enabled on your board to use sprints. See Enabling ranking.

  • In general, sprint actions require the Manage Sprints permission. However, there are some sprint actions (e.g. adding issues to sprints, removing issues from sprints) that require the Schedule Issues and Edit Issues permissions. See Permissions overview for more information.

Create a sprint

You can create a sprint for your current iteration, or multiple future sprints if you want to plan several iterations ahead.

  1. If not already there, navigate to your company-managed Jira Software project.

  2. From your project’s sidebar, select your Backlog.

  3. Click Create sprint at the top of the backlog section.

Once you've created a sprint, you can add issues to it. 

Need to record your planning meeting notes somewhere? In Jira Software, you view sprints on a board and assign issues to sprints. You can search for issues in upcoming sprints using JQL (Sprint field). connected to Confluence, you can create a 'Meeting Notes' page via the Linked pages link. See Linking a Confluence page to a sprint for details.

Plan a future sprint

After you’ve created a sprint, you’ll have the option to create more. This is helpful if you’d like to plan upcoming sprints and still utilize your backlog for incoming requests that require triaging.

To plan a future sprint:

  1. If not already there, navigate to your company-managed Jira Software project.

  2. From your project’s sidebar, select your Backlog.

  3. Click Create sprint at the top of the backlog section. The new sprint will appear below the current sprint.

  4. SelectAdd dates (located under the sprint’s header) to plan the start and end date of your future sprint.

Add issues to a sprint

In Scrum, scope creep during a sprint should be avoided. In addition, the team is supposed to deliver a working piece of software at the end of the sprint. This means that you need to know your team's capacity for work, as well as the amount of work they are committing to, when adding issues to a sprint.

Typically, your team would estimate issues before adding them to the sprint, so that you can see the total estimated work for the sprint (in the sprint footer). You can match this against your team's capacity for work by looking at past sprints. Tools like the Velocity Chart and Burndown Chart can help you with this. Don't worry if you don't have any historical data — you'll get a good idea of your team's velocity once they start completing sprints.

Understand issues in a sprint

  • Sub-tasks cannot be moved independently of their parents.

  • An issue can only be assigned to one active sprint or future sprint. This means you can't add an issue to both an active sprint and a future sprint at the same time.

  • You can add any issue to any active or future sprint, even if the issue doesn't match the filter query of the board where the sprint was created. When you do this:

    • the issue is assigned to the sprint, but will not be visible on boards where the filter query excludes it.

    • any sprint actions (e.g. start sprint, close sprint) that span multiple boards will also affect the sprint in all boards where the sprint is visible.

    • if the issue doesn't match the filter query of any agile board, the issue will be linked to the sprint but not appear on any board.

  • A sprint appears in any board — a single board or multiple boards — as long as the issues assigned to the sprint match the filter query of the board or boards. This also applies to completed sprints.

Add existing issues to a sprint

Use this when the issue already exists and you want to add it to an active or future sprint.

In the Backlog, drag and drop the issues onto the relevant sprint.

To add multiple issues:

  • Select the issues (use Shift+Click or Ctrl+Click), right-click, then select the relevant sprint.

  • Drag the sprint footer down to include issues from the backlog. 

A cropped scrum backlog. An issue has been right clicked to show an action menu, with the cursor on: Send to Sample Sprint 2.

Create, then add an issue to an active sprint

Use this when the issue doesn't exist, and you want to quickly add it to an active sprint.

After creating an issue in the Active sprints, click the Add to <sprint name> link in the confirmation dialog that displays. <Sprint name> will be the name of the sprint that you are currently viewing on the board.

Note, if you do not have the 'Edit Issues' and 'Schedule Issues' permissions for all projects included by the board's filter, the issue will be added to the backlog instead of the sprint.

A cropped screenshot of a newly created issue. The text includes the issue key, and a link to "Add to Sample Sprint 2"

Edit the sprint field for an issue

Use this when editing an issue, and you know the name of the active or future sprint.

Create or edit an issue and enter the sprint name in the Sprint field. If the sprint field doesn't display on the Create Issue or Edit Issue dialog, choose Configure fields, then select the Sprint field.

The edit screen in the issue named PWC-3. The cursor's clicked the Sprint dropdown to display a list of suggested Sprints.

If you update the Sprint field for multiple issues via bulk operations, you need to enter the Sprint ID, not Sprint name. To find the Sprint ID, navigate to an issue in the sprint, hover over the sprint name, and look in the URL for number in the sprint parameter.

To remove an issue from a sprint, just drag it to the Backlog, or right-click and select Send to Top of Backlog/Bottom of Backlog. You can also edit or bulk edit issues to remove the value from the Sprint field of the issues.

Once you have chosen which issues to include in your next sprint, you are ready to start the sprint, as described in the 'Starting a sprint' section below.

Start a sprint

You can only start a sprint, if:

  • You haven't started one already. If you want to have more than one active sprint at a time, try the Parallel Sprints feature. 

  • The sprint is at the top of the backlog. If you want to start a planned sprint that is lower down, you will need to reorder your sprints to move it to the top. (Note, this doesn't apply if Parallel Sprints is enabled).

To start a sprint:

  1. Go to the Backlog of your Scrum project.

  2. Find the sprint that you want to start and click Start sprint. If you haven't estimated your issues, you will receive a warning when starting the sprint (unless you are using Issue Count, as this is calculated automatically).

  3. Update the Sprint name and add a Sprint goal if desired, and select the Start date and End date for the sprint. The default duration of a sprint is two weeks. If added, the sprint goal will also be displayed in the Sprint Report and Burndown Chart for that sprint.

You will be taken to the Active sprints, where issues in your newly started sprint will be shown. 

The planned start date automatically updates when you start a sprint

Adding start and end dates to your future sprints is a helpful way to organize and prioritize work. However, this might differ from the sprint’s actual start date.

Reports rely on the start date of your sprint to calculate scope, velocity, and burndown. If the planned start date is before the team actually starts the sprint, then all work added to the sprint would be considered “scope creep”. If the planned start date is after the team started the sprint, all previous activity would be excluded from reports.

To prevent inaccurate reporting, the planned time and date are replaced by a suggested time and date that match the moment you select Start sprint. This can be changed to suit your team.

Learn more about reports in company-managed projects.

You can still view your active sprint in the Backlog, and even add and remove issues from it.

Be aware that adding and removing an issue from the active sprint is considered to be a 'scope change' and will be reflected in some reports, like the Burndown Chart.

Edit, reorder, or delete a sprint

Sometimes, you may need to modify sprints after they've been created, especially if you're managing a large backlog. You can edit the name, goal, and dates of a sprint; reorder a sprint; or delete a sprint in the Backlog. 


Where you'll find it in the Backlog

Edit a sprint's name, goal or dates

Select more () > Edit sprint.

Note: You can only edit sprints that have not been completed yet. Also, the date fields are not specified until you start a sprint.

Delete a sprint

Select more () > Delete sprint.

Note: The sprint's issues will be moved to the next sprint in the list. If you delete an active sprint, those issues will keep their status in their new sprint.

Reorder a sprint

Select more () > Move sprint up or Move sprint down. 

Note: You can only reorder planned sprints (not the active sprint or closed sprints). Also, if you have the same sprints (or some subset of them) on different boards, the sprint order will be reflected across the boards.

Delete a completed sprint

You can delete a completed sprint on the Sprint reports screen:

  1. Go to the the board where the completed sprint belongs.

  2. Click Reports, then select Sprint Report.

  3. Select the relevant sprint from the sprint drop-down.

  4. Select more () > Delete sprint.

View the issues in a sprint

Use the backlog of a board to view planned sprints. If you want to view a sprint in progress, use the Active sprints of a board instead. You can also use JQL to search for a sprint's issues.

For example, to search for issues that are in the sprint, "February 1", use this query:

1 sprint = "February 1"

For more information on how to search for issues by sprint:

  • See the JQL documentation on the sprint field ('Fields Reference' section),

  • See Advanced searching functions on the closedSprints() and openSprints() functions.

Need help? If you can't find the answer you need in our documentation, we have other resources available to help you. See Getting help.

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