Planning is vital to the success of agile working. Planning allows everyone to understand:
- what your vision and objectives are
- what you need to do to achieve your objectives
- how you know when you’ve achieved them
Differences between agile and waterfall planning
In waterfall projects you typically do detailed planning early on in a project, before the development stage. After planning it’s rare that you go back and make changes. You hold plans in requirement documents and Gantt charts that may not be accessible to everyone.
In agile, you change your plans as you do more work and learn more about your users.
You should focus your efforts on planning at the right level at the right time. Plan work you don’t expect to do for a while at a high level. Make a more detailed plan for work you are just about to do.
In agile, you should make your planning visible to the rest of your organisation.
Use tools you have available to you to allow anyone in your organisation to see any planning you do, which might be a display wall or more digital tools such as online document collaboration or Trello.
Hold planning meetings
You should hold a meeting with your whole team to make detailed plans of the work you’ll be carrying out in the next iteration or sprint.
Use this meeting to:
- make sure that the whole team understands the work they’re about to do
- talk about possible approaches, issues and dependencies based on user stories from your backlog
- keep up collaboration between the different disciplines in your team
- include members of other teams or external teams if there are cross-team or cross-organisation dependencies
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