Case Study: Mobile Expense Tracker App

As a software development team, you have been tasked with creating a mobile expense tracker app. The app should help users track their daily expenses, categorize spending, and set budget goals. The goal is to provide users with a user-friendly, efficient, and feature-rich application that can be used on both Android and iOS platforms.

To simulate a product backlog for this project, let’s create a table with several user stories, their priorities, estimations (in story points), and acceptance criteria.

User Story Priority Estimation Acceptance Criteria
User Authentication High 8 – Users can register with email and password.
– Users can log in with their credentials.
– Passwords are securely stored and hashed.
– Users can reset their passwords if forgotten.
Expense Entry High 13 – Users can enter a new expense with a title, amount, date, and category.
– Users can edit existing expenses.
– Users can delete expenses.
– Expenses are saved and retrieved from a database.
Expense Categories Medium 5 – Users can create custom expense categories.
– Expenses can be assigned to specific categories.
– Users can edit and delete categories.
Expense Analytics Medium 8 – Users can view monthly and yearly expense reports and charts.
– Expenses are automatically categorized based on user-defined rules.
– Users can set budget goals for different categories.
Cloud Sync High 13 – User data is synchronized across devices.
– Data is securely stored in the cloud.
– Offline access is supported with local data storage.
– Changes made on one device reflect on others.
Currency Conversion Low 3 – Users can choose their preferred currency.
– Expense amounts are automatically converted based on the selected currency.
Touch ID/Face ID Authentication Low 5 – Users can enable biometric authentication for added security.
– App supports Touch ID (iOS) and Face ID (iOS) or fingerprint (Android) authentication.
Export Data Medium 8 – Users can export expense data in CSV format.
– Exported data contains all expense details, including date and category.
– Data can be emailed or saved locally.
Notification Reminders Medium 8 – Users can set daily, weekly, or monthly expense reminders.
– Reminders trigger notifications with preset messages.
Expense Sorting Low 3 – Users can sort expenses by date, amount, or category.
– Sorting order can be ascending or descending.

This table simulates a simplified product backlog for developing the mobile expense tracker app. Each user story is prioritized based on its importance to the project, estimated in story points to gauge its complexity, and has clear acceptance criteria to define when it is considered complete. This backlog serves as a starting point for sprint planning and ensures that the development team and stakeholders have a shared understanding of the project’s scope and priorities.

From Product Backlog to Sprint Planning

Sprint planning is a crucial part of Agile project management, and it involves selecting a set of user stories from the product backlog to work on during the upcoming sprint. Sprint planning typically consists of two parts: sprint planning meeting and sprint backlog creation. Let’s go through the steps to plan a sprint based on the product backlog you provided:

Step 1: Define the Sprint Goal

  • Begin the sprint planning meeting by discussing the overall objective or goal of the upcoming sprint. For example, in your case, it could be something like, “The goal of this sprint is to implement essential authentication and basic expense entry functionality.”

Step 2: Determine Sprint Duration

  • Decide on the duration of the sprint. Common sprint durations are two weeks, three weeks, or one month. Choose a duration that works best for your team and project.

Step 3: Select User Stories

  • Review the product backlog and, in collaboration with the development team and product owner, select a set of user stories that can be realistically completed within the sprint duration. Consider the priorities, estimates, and dependencies of the user stories. Keep in mind the team’s velocity, which is the amount of work the team can complete in a sprint based on past performance.

For example, let’s assume your team can complete user stories with a total of 30 story points in a two-week sprint. Based on that capacity, you might select the following user stories:

  • User Authentication (8 story points)
  • Expense Entry (13 story points)
  • Currency Conversion (3 story points)
  • Touch ID/Face ID Authentication (5 story points)

This selection totals 29 story points, which is close to your team’s capacity.

Step 4: Break Down User Stories (if needed)

  • If any of the selected user stories are too large or complex, consider breaking them down into smaller, more manageable tasks or sub-stories. Ensure that these sub-stories are well-defined with clear acceptance criteria.

Step 5: Estimate Tasks

  • Estimate the effort required for each selected user story or sub-story in terms of hours or story points. This helps the team understand the workload and ensures that the sprint remains manageable.

Step 6: Create the Sprint Backlog

  • Create a list of tasks for each selected user story or sub-story. Include the estimated effort, and assign tasks to team members based on their skills and availability. This becomes your sprint backlog.

Here’s an example of what the sprint backlog might look like:

Sprint Backlog for the Upcoming 2-Week Sprint

User Story Task Description Estimated Effort Assigned To
User Authentication Implement registration logic 4 hours Developer A
User Authentication Implement login logic 6 hours Developer B
Expense Entry Design expense entry form 5 hours Designer
Expense Entry Implement expense form UI 8 hours Developer C
Expense Entry Create database schema for expenses 4 hours Database Specialist
Currency Conversion Add currency selection feature 2 hours Developer D
Touch ID/Face ID Authentication Implement biometric authentication (iOS) 8 hours Developer E

Step 7: Commit to the Sprint

  • During the sprint planning meeting, the team commits to completing the selected user stories and tasks within the sprint duration. This commitment ensures that the team focuses on delivering the planned work.

Step 8: Create a Sprint Goal

  • Based on the selected user stories and tasks, articulate a clear and concise sprint goal that summarizes what the team aims to achieve by the end of the sprint. This goal provides a shared understanding of the sprint’s purpose.

Step 9: Review and Close the Sprint Planning Meeting

  • Before concluding the meeting, ensure that everyone understands the sprint goal, the selected user stories, and their respective tasks. Address any questions or concerns, and officially start the sprint.

Throughout the sprint, hold daily stand-up meetings to track progress, make adjustments as needed, and ensure that the team is on track to achieve the sprint goal. At the end of the sprint, conduct a sprint review to demonstrate the completed work to stakeholders and gather feedback. Finally, hold a sprint retrospective to reflect on the sprint’s processes and identify areas for improvement in future sprints.


Sprint planning is the pivotal bridge that connects the product backlog to actionable development efforts in Agile project management. It’s a collaborative and dynamic process that allows teams to select and commit to a well-defined set of user stories or tasks for a specific sprint. Through careful consideration of priorities, dependencies, and estimations, sprint planning ensures that the team is aligned with the overarching project goals and can deliver value to customers incrementally.

Effective sprint planning goes beyond mere task assignment; it fosters clear communication, empowers team members to take ownership of their work, and ultimately results in a sprint goal that guides the team’s efforts. Regular sprint planning, coupled with daily stand-ups, sprint reviews, and retrospectives, forms the heartbeat of Agile development, enabling teams to adapt to changing requirements, maintain focus, and continuously improve their processes.

By mastering the art of sprint planning, Agile teams can navigate the complex landscape of software development with precision, ensuring that each sprint brings them closer to delivering exceptional products that meet customer needs and drive business success. It is a practice that embodies the Agile principles of collaboration, responsiveness, and customer-centricity, making it a cornerstone of Agile project management.



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