What's Important at the Beginning of a Sprint?

With the Agile software development model, the system requirements are broken down into bite-sized development tasks called "stories", which are stored in a Backlog. The stories that are determined to be developed are pulled from the Backlog and assigned to that sprint.

These sprint stories are very important to OCM, because they provide insight to change impact before even seeing the functionality demonstrated. They are individual pieces of the end-state puzzle being put together, and give you the "who", "what", "why", and "how" of change impact for that one requirement. Just like the system is broken down into bite-sized requirements, the change impact is broken down into bite-sized needs. It's the job of change management to see those needs and build the readiness activities.

Agile stories, like many other disciplines of Agile development, follow a very strict process. When written correctly, the beginning and end are our key. The beginning should be written, "As a(n)____, I need to _____, so that _____." This tells us who (actor or user) needs what (function) to happen and why (business driver behind the requirement). The end should include the acceptance criteria needed for the story to be approved after it's developed. These are literally the step-by-step details of what should happen, and the expected results, in the new system.

That's a pretty strong start each sprint for change management, so get a copy of the sprint stories as soon as they are pulled. Filter out any stories that are not user facing (don't have an impact to what the user sees or does in the system), and then the change management team can quickly assess impact and spend quality sprint time planning, and possibly executing, readiness activities.