Once you have a product backlog – it means you know what you are going to build and with which priorities – you can start your iterations and gradually build your product, functionality after functionality, always listening to the customers’ feedback and adapting to it.
You have already prepared a (draft) release plan so you know which functionalities will be built in every iteration, which known defects will be fixed but remember that this is just the initial plan (changes and new opportunities will arrive and will make you change the plan) and moreover the plan is a high level one, it does not go into details.
This is an analogue to Lean Manufacturing where you only build an Iteration Backlog when a Product Backlog is presented to you and requested to be turned into an increment; so this is Just In Time order processing.
Before actually starting with the iteration it is strongly recommended to have a planning session; this will also help as a kick-off for the team: what is expected from them in this iteration and what they can commit.
The purpose of the planning meeting is to give the team enough information to be able to work in undisturbed peace for a few weeks, and to give the product owner enough confidence to let them do so. Continue reading “The iteration kick-off and planning meeting”