Understanding Agile Planning

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Agile planning involves everyone on the team, including all stakeholders and anyone else who is involved in the process. Below, we will look at what agile planning is and how it is done.

Product production is a process which needs a lot of planning and collaboration. Once we understand that agile is not a top-down activity, we can begin to understand the need for agile planning. When companies embrace agile methodologies, they let the project managers oversee the work, provide estimates, and bring together a team that can successfully complete the project.

Agile Planning vs Traditional Planning

Agile planning involves selecting and planning for product features on multiple levels that are worked on in a specified amount of time. The main purpose of agile planning is to ensure that the product vision is met; as in the product is of high quality and that it aligns with the business’ strategies and vision.

When doing agile planning, as explained on Kanbanize, a project manager has to think about the features they would like released and then putting together a timetable for their development and release.

For this to go effectively, project managers must plan sprints. Sprints are short periods where teams work on a single feature, test it, release it, and then pick another feature to work on. You can find out more by trying Kanbanize, a project management tool based on the Kanban system.

Iteration and Sprints

It is important to remember that teams embracing agile methodologies release the first iteration of a product and then add new features to it depending on the user and shareholder feedback.

For each sprint, there has to be a meeting where all stakeholders decide on what features they will include in the next iteration. They then go through the backlog of issues and the user story to determine the different tasks that will be assigned to different members of the team. At this planning stage, the amount of time it would require for each task to be completed is also agreed upon.

All features that are needed to be done are broken into tasks and assigned to team members during the task planning stage. If any tasks will take longer than a day, it is best practice to break them down even further. When they are broken down this way, team members are certain of what needs to be done, which leads to higher task-completion rates.

Agile estimating is where all stakeholders use past data to determine how long tasks will take to complete and how much it will cost to complete an iteration. Being realistic with time and cost estimates as well as using estimates or smaller tasks rather than bigger tasks.

The Planning Process

At the planning stage, all stakeholders must all decide on user stories development. This is where the user needs to determine the objectives of the project. These objectives can then be used to develop features and help prioritise feature development.

When planning, teams must also decide how to deal with a backlog of issues. These include iteration backlogs, which are items that need to be added during the current iteration, as well as the product backlog, which are features that need to be added to the product.

Project managers must make a list ranking tasks from the most urgent to ones that are less so. Working with customers at this stage, in order to know which features to prioritise, is important.

The next step when determining what needs to be done during a sprint is scheduling. When doing this, project managers have to be careful not to plan too far ahead into the future. When they do this, there is the chance that the team will not be able to respond to changes as quickly as it should. Scheduling is a team effort, so project managers have to involve the whole team. Scheduling depends on time estimates and past experiences and therefore the team’s voice must be heard during the scheduling phase.

When scheduling, remember to set time aside for design, testing, and demo presentation. All three of these things are part of the development process.

Agile Planning: Collaboration and Teamwork

There is a lot of planning, estimating and scheduling when taking part in agile planning. This is why it is so important to involve the whole team. The team is the one that works hands-on on projects and they are better placed to advise you on aspects such as time estimates and the cost of adding particular features. Encourage the members of your team to speak up and let them know that there are no bad ideas at the planning stage, brainstorming is the best way to decide how to deliver the next iteration of the project.

Agile planning is different from traditional planning because, in traditional planning, the project manager comes up with a plan and then sends it to team members to execute. In agile planning, the whole team is involved in all parts of the agile planning process.

Conclusion

There are massive benefits to properly taking part in doing agile planning. Just remember that you have to incorporate user feedback and listen to all stakeholders in order to deliver the best product iteration possible.

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