The Agile Approach to Planning

This month we’ve been talking about project planning, exploring the truism ‘an idiot with a plan can beat a genius without a plan’ and it’s hard to have a conversation about planning without hearing the word ‘agile’ lately. So, what is it? Let’s get a short and sweet overview of what it is and how it relates to project planning.

Strategic planning is essential in every organization, but everyone knows that life happens and things don’t always go according to plan, so it is just as important to be ready to adapt if (and when) you hit a bump in the road. The Agile methodology is a project management approach that is all about being flexible and embracing change. This is why Agile has become so popular in recent years, especially among software development companies.

If you are new to Agile, the 4 key values of the Agile Manifesto give a clear idea of what this approach is about:

  1. Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  2. Working software(or any valuable deliverable) over comprehensive documentation
  3. Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  4. Responding to change over following a plan

The fourth value emphasizes responding to change over following a plan. This doesn’t mean that planning doesn’t happen at all with Agile. In fact, planning plays a major role during various Agile phases, from developing a roadmap during the initial stage, to planning for each sprint and iteration, and even planning during Daily Standup meetings to make sure everyone is on track. Many Agile teams even use Planning Poker (also known as Scrum Poker), which is a gamified technique for estimating and planning around how long it will take to complete all required items within one Sprint or Iteration.

About the Author: Shareen is a Consultant at FMP.

References:

Denning, S. (2018, January 2). Why Agile is Eating the World. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/stevedenning/2018/01/02/why-agile-is-eating-the-world%E2%80%8B%E2%80%8B/#57f390b24a5b

Manifesto for Agile Software Development. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://agilemanifesto.org/

Estimates Made Easy. Sprints Made Simple. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.planningpoker.com/