Agile Technique Brief: Agile Planning


Quick Summary
This guideline explains what planning looks like on an agile project, as well as what kind of projects are most likely to benefit from it, and how to organize successful planning for your agile project at the release, iteration, and day-to-day level.


This template requires a Premium Subscription
Please log in. Don't have a log-in? Sign up now. Already a Member? Log in to upgrade immediately and get the file! A Premium subscription is only $14.95/month or $149/year and gets you over 200 templates, guidelines, and checklists.
15-day free trial period for new Premium subscribers! Learn more
Log in to download this file

Username:  
Password:  

What this is

This technique brief provides an overview of agile planning, an iterative and feature-based approach to project planning.


Why it's useful

Agile planning is feature-based, iterative, owned by the team, and uses different levels of detail. These characteristics provide teams an opportunity to get rapid feedback on their designs and processes, apply learning from past experiences quickly, and keep their project plans simple, but effective. This approach to planning provides project teams with a means to produce features in a short amount of time in order to gain useful feedback from users, customers, and stakeholders. It also allows teams to defer decisions on detailed requirements until the feature is being developed, allowing them to apply the most current and accurate information possible.

This approach works when the team has decided to follow an iterative and incremental project approach and is most useful in situations where the product of the project can be delivered in small increments.


How to use it

There are several different layers of planning. This technique brief describes three of those levels—release planning, iteration planning, and daily planning. The following steps provide an overview of how to start planning at the beginning of a project. Assume the project has been approved to proceed and that there is a project value model with a defined project purpose, considerations, and cost-benefit analysis.

  1. Gather the team together to refine and update the project value model with any new information and to establish a feature list.
  2. Prioritize the feature list by determining the relative cost, benefit, and value of the features.
  3. Determine in what releases those features will most likely be delivered. (See the Release Planning section.)
  4. At the start of each iteration, pick features for that iteration and break them into tasks. (See Iteration Planning.)
  5. On a daily basis, coordinate the team’s activities. (See Daily Planning.)
  6. Repeat Steps 3–5 as appropriate.
About the Author

Kent J. McDonald, partner and co-founder of Accelinnova, has more than a decade of experience guiding successful projects and designing business solutions in a variety of industries, including financial services, health insurance, performance marketing, human services, non-profit, and automotive. By addressing common questions about project leadership, Kent demonstrates how agile practices can be applied in organizations, focusing on his "Words To Lead By: Collaborate; Iterate; Serve The Team; Consider Context; Practice Excellence; Reflect And Adapt; Deliver Value."

Kent has a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering from Iowa State University and an MBA from Kent State University. He is co-founder, and Treasurer of the Agile Project Leadership Network, is a founder of the Agile Iowa Group, and is on the planning committee for the Agile 2007 Conference. He welcomes questions about project leadership with a focus on value at kent@kentmcdonald.com.


This template requires a Premium Subscription
Please log in. Don't have a log-in? Sign up now. Already a Member? Log in to upgrade immediately and get the file! A Premium subscription is only $14.95/month or $149/year and gets you over 200 templates, guidelines, and checklists.
15-day free trial period for new Premium subscribers! Learn more
Log in to download this file

Username:  
Password:  





Related Templates
Agile Technique Brief: Requirements Cards
Agile methodologies like Scrum and Extreme Programming (XP) often build on "user stories" as a way of capturing and tracking feature requirements. This brief explains how to use the technique—referred to here as requirements cards in order to widen the horizon to customers and stakeholders.

Agile Technique Brief: Project Value Models
Learn to reach agreement on the project purpose, risks, constraints, assumptions, and more, and use that information to decide which projects and features to develop, prioritize them, and keep the priorities consistent with changing circumstances.

Agile Technique Brief: Estimating
This agile approach to generating task estimates -- or "story points" -- makes a challenging task more fun and more accurate, by focusing more on relative feature sizes and actual production during a project iteration.

WBS Example: Agile Project Plan
WBS and schedule created for starting a new business, including task estimates, resource allocation, preliminary leveling information, and more.

BURNING QUESTIONWhat does an Agile WBS look like?
Rather than locking down scope, projects using an agile approach set time as the fixed constraint through the use of a series of 2-4 week iterations…



©Copyright 2000-2014 Emprend, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
About us   Site Map   View current sponsorship opportunities (PDF)
Contact us for more information or e-mail info@projectconnections.com
Terms of Service and Privacy Policy

Stay Connected
Get our latest content delivered to your inbox, every other week. New case studies, articles, templates, online courses, and more. Check out our Newsletter Archive for past issues. Sign Up Now

Got a Question?
Drop us an email or call us toll free:
888-722-5235
7am-5pm Pacific
Monday - Friday
We'd love to talk to you.

Learn more about ProjectConnections, our contributors, and our membership levels and product options.