Rules for the Planning Phase


  1. Prioritize your estimated stories as you wish. Take time estimates into account, but choose the things you value highest.
  2. When given a velocity by the constructors, choose stories with time estimates up to this velocity for building in the current cycle. Give only these story cards to the constructors to build in the next construction phase.
  3. Write additional stories for future cycles as you desire. Give them to the constructors for estimation.
  4. Don't build anything yourselves.
  5. Answer all questions about the stories and make sure you have a common understanding about the overall nature of a story with the Constructors to aid estimation.


  1. Give the customers a "velocity" figure that is no greater than the length of the next cycle. This is a promise to do a certain amount of work in the next cycle as determined by the estimates you gave. For example, if the construction phase is to last 15 minutes, the velocity might be 10 or 12 minutes. As you get experience, both your estimates and the velocity will get more accurate.
  2. Estimate additional stories as necessary. For each story give a time estimate (ideal constructor minutes) that represent ideal time assuming no delays and assuming the story will be built independently of any others. If something seems impossible give it a very large or infinite estimate. The estimate is how long it will take the team to build the story if it has only that task.
  3. Consult with the customers as needed on the meaning of the stories. Don't assume you know what is wanted. Don't make decisions on behalf of the customers. Make sure the customers understand what you can do and NOT do. Make suggestions about possibilities. Explore alternatives as appropriate.


  1. Keep everyone communicating.
  2. Don't let the customers estimate.
  3. Don't let the constructors specify, prirortize, or assume what the customers might want.


Note: The first planning phase is longer than the others to allow for some initial stories to get written and estimated.