The Secret Sauce to Successful Agile Planning

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

by Berni Greer

I have worked with various teams and business partners and project managers over the past few years who have been striving to be more ‘agile’ and adapt to the changing landscape and operating models of the developer teams with whom they interface.

An agile transformation is an arduous task for any group to undertake and requires a significant time commitment. It is not just a case of paying lip service to the various recommended ceremonies and roles, but rather there is often extensive coaching and support required to ensure that an agile transformation is successful.

Agility represents many things; collaboration and regular communication, faster delivery, and faster feedback, all resulting in the delivery of a quality product.

To suitably set teams up to reap these benefits, there must be alignment and openness.

One established approach for helping teams off the starting blocks is some variation of a group planning exercise; referred to as one of the following terms,

  • Big Room Planning,
  • Quarterly Planning,
  • Program Increment (PI) planning…

Regardless of the label, they all involve:

Planning (sometimes at scale), every 90 days, usually lasting 2–3 days in duration, involving all stakeholders, subject matter experts, product owners and development teams who are working together to deliver a product or share a common vision.

Based on my observations, here are 10 tips for making your planning event a success. (If you are new to the concept of agile planning, take a few minutes to read this first.)

1. Business Mission: The raison d'etre

This is a go/no go objective that must be satisfied in advance of the event. All attendees must understand the business mission. The mission should be compiled by the business or customer, detailing the key objectives for the product or service, with a medium to long term view.

The mission is one of the first items on the agenda to kick off the planning event. It should be a rallying call to action, which articulates why everyone has been assembled to collectively plan together...

Read the rest of Berni's article here