In the context of Agile, planning plays a central and dynamic role. Unlike traditional approaches where planning is often static and rigid, Agile adopts an iterative and flexible approach that adapts to change. Planning in Agile is a continuous and adaptive process that occurs at various levels: from long-term planning to daily planning. The primary goal is to maximise the value delivered to the customer, enabling the team to respond quickly and flexibly to changing needs and priorities.
Principles of Agile planning
- Flexibility: in Agile, a flexible mindset is adopted regarding planning. Rather than following a rigid plan, the team commits to responding to change and adapting the plan accordingly.
- Iteration: planning in Agile occurs through short iterations called sprints or cycles, which allow the team to receive rapid feedback and make adjustments as needed.
- Prioritisation: activities are prioritised based on the value they bring to the customer. This helps the team focus on the most important tasks and avoid wasting time and resources on low-value activities.
- Customer involvement: customer involvement is crucial throughout the planning process. Customer feedback is integrated into the decision-making process to ensure that the product truly meets their needs and expectations.
Agile planning practices
- Release planning: long-term planning is done by identifying goals and key features to be delivered in each product release. This planning provides an overview of the project and helps establish a common direction for the team.
- Sprint planning: in the Scrum framework, at the beginning of each sprint, the team gathers to plan the activities that they will tackle during the cycle. Sprint goals are established, and tasks are broken down to be completed within the sprint duration.
- Daily planning: during daily planning, the team briefly gathers to synchronize activities and identify any obstacles that may hinder progress. This practice helps to keep the team aligned and ensures that everyone is on the same page.
- Retrospectives: at the end of each cycle, the team meets to reflect on past performance and identify opportunities for improvement. This practice helps the team to learn from mistakes and to continue improving their planning process over time.
In conclusion, contrary to common belief, planning is a crucial theme in Agile, aligned with the flexible and iterative nature of this approach. From one side, it allows the team to quickly incorporate new information and make adjustments accordingly, while from the other side it helps to keep everyone in the team aligned with the long-term objectives of the project.