Agile Planning – How to answer managements concerns about Long Term Planning?

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Its a common misconception that agile = no planning.  Agile plans at multiple levels and the plans influence each other.

Scrum has planning:

  • At the day level, you have the daily standup
  • At the sprint level, which is measured in weeks, you have the sprint plan
  • At the release level (months), you have the release plan
  • At the product level, you have your product roadmap plan
  • At the portfolio level, you have your portfolio plan
  • At the strategy level, you have your strategic planning

The difference between how planning works in Scrum vs traditional project management is that the planning AND execution of the plan at the lower level INFORMS the plan at the higher level. The day-plan execution informs the sprint plan. The sprint plan execution informs the release plan, etc.

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We use new information to calibrate our plans

Since we know that every day, every week, every month we are going to get NEW information that we can use to better calibrate our planning, it doesn’t make sense to spend an inordinate amount of time on the higher levels of planning, since we know those plans will most likely be incorrect. We use actual data to make corrections, via a number of complete PDCA loops (Plan, Do, Check, Act)

Remember, the Scrum framework is purposefully incomplete

Planning at the product, portfolio, and strategy level are not *necessarily part of Scrum, but if they are an important part of your companies planning cycle, why would you get rid of them?

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