Ideas behind Agile Planning: Iterative and Incremental

When we start the work (and the plan) we do not know everything.

As I have suggested, if we know half of everything we need to know (to have a perfect plan) that, in my experience, would be a better-than-average start.

So, we start.

And we start with the notion that the plan will never be perfect, but all the time (every sprint) we can try to learn. Then we use that learning to improve the plan.  Make it less inaccurate.

So, we revise the plan iteratively and incrementally.

What is the plan?  It is essentially the product backlog, laid out into Sprints and releases.

So, what do we do to improve it?

Well, anything that we think will help.

This might include:

  • More research (I assume that some research was already done)
  • Breaking down stories (or epics)
  • Learning from Demos
  • Getting the up-to-date Velocity
  • Innovating on product design
  • Getting to know the customer, the situation, the journey, the problem – better

The work might be led by the Product Owner, but anyone on the Team or even Business Stakeholders or others might do the work.  That is, learn, and share that with the Team.

The Team (all 7 of them plus the Business Stakeholders) should easily learn enough in 2 weeks to improve the plan significantly.

By learning about (among other things):

  • The Future (part of which is not the past)
  • The Customers
  • The problem
  • The technology
  • The Team iself
  • The needed features
  • Business Value
  • The competition
  • The market
  • The legal-regulatory environment
  • The user experience and what it might be
  • Lean Start-up (or similar ideas)
  • Risks and Impediments
  • Who else might help
  • The expected help that is not now coming

Then, iteratively and incrementally, every sprint, we can revise the plan.

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