The three key areas of agile planning with scrum - Unlock Your Team's Genius

The three key areas of agile planning with scrum

By Georg Fasching | agile practice

Sep 19

Get to grips with the core elements of planning in agile product management

Tip 1: First horizon: Daily sprint planning

Agile planning in product development with scrum has three main horizons. The first is daily planning, otherwise known as daily scrum planning. Within daily planning there are a few key things you’ll want to keep track of to get most out of it.

  • Contributions: How are the team contributing as a whole team to meeting the sprint goal set out at the beginning? Burn up or burn down charts can be helpful here.
  • Help: Stay abreast of how they’re offering/asking for help when meeting roadblocks or needing guidance. This is important when developing a positive culture.
  • Knowledge: What do you already know that you might find out at retro but could be useful during the sprint, either from previous sprint iterations or from your knowledge of upcoming work?

“Agile planning with scrum involves far more planning than sticking to plans compared to sequential ways of working.”

Tip 2: Second horizon: agile sprint planning

Sprint planning, otherwise known as iteration planning, allows you to plan the items for the coming team sprint. The key to successful planning is to create concise and engaging goals to stimulate the team’s intrinsic motivators and desire to realise a milestone of the product or service on the roadmap.

To do that, the following questions must be asked of the work:

  1. How is this important to the wider product roadmap?
  2. Is this particular product or feature enhancement making an impact to lives of users? How do we measure it?
  3. What is simplest way for us to realise this value for the users?

For more on Sprint Planning I invite you to check out the article dedicated to it.

Tip 3: Third horizon: agile ‘release’ planning

Last but not least is agile ‘release’ planning. In an era of continuous integration & deployment we can release anytime. So the release level in terms of planning refers to milestones on the product roadmap. Looking at your product roadmap, you’ll need to ask yourself questions at regular intervals to ensure your work remains in alignment with the bigger picture:

  1. What are you using to measure whether or not you’re getting closer to achieving your current milestone in the wider product roadmap?
  2. What will you need to change or adapt along the way to maintain your trajectory toward your greater goal? Which changes have you made in your product metrics?
  3. How well have you and other stakeholders prepared for next major milestone? Is it coming dangerously close? Do you predict some downtime to manage this?
  4. How well are you trending toward realising the vision of your product or services in relation to your roadmap? Are the dates similar? Have you estimated it well? What can you learn from this?

Agile release planning involves asking these questions and evaluating your current situation in relation to the bigger picture.

I hope the video and tips above help you to understand the three main horizons of agile planning and compartmentalise them so that you can execute each of them more effectively. Once you do, you’ll be able to more accurately assess the team’s performance as well as the product’s performance according to the bigger product picture.

If you have any questions or topics you’d like me to cover, leave a comment below or send me a message through my website. Thanks for reading. See you next time!

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About the Author

An agilist since 2010 and in product management since the 90s, Georg Fasching helps digital creative agencies delight their clients, fulfil their people, and improve their prosperity.

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