Quick Guide to Successful Agile Planning
Agile software development has become a popular method for creating products in recent years. The approach is based on the idea of iterative development and continuous revision, rather than long-term planning. Agile projects focus on delivering business value to users in increments, while continuously incorporating feedback from stakeholders and end users. Agile methodology uses the principles of lean thinking to identify and eliminate waste, with the goal of providing maximum value to customers in minimal time.
Why Agile Planning?
Agile software development is not without its challenges, however. One of the most prominent issues cited by developers and stakeholders alike is poor planning — or rather, a lack thereof. After all, agile methodology aspires to be flexible and responsive to change. Which flies in the face of traditional project management practices. As a project manager, the only thing that you want in life is to be able to run your projects efficiently and effectively. You believe that if your team is more productive and efficient, you’ll complete the project within your timeline and budget. However, with myriads of tasks and projects on your plate, it can be difficult to deliver on every aspect of project management.
The Agile methodology is increasingly being used by organizations that want to adopt a more flexible approach to project management. It’s an iterative process that allows for planning, execution, and the ability to make changes on the fly as the project progresses. There are many benefits of using agile project management including increased transparency, early risk prevention, and continuous improvement. However, it’s not right for every type of project.
When you’re planning a project, it’s important to consider all aspects of the project. There are lots of factors that will come into play during your project and it’s important to plan ahead for these so they don’t derail your work. Here are some key considerations for Agile Planning:
- Pick the right tool. There are lots of tools that can help you plan your project and track its progress. You may want to start out with a whiteboard, but you will probably find that a tool like Trello is more efficient as your team grows. When using Online Project Planner, you don’t have to go it alone when it comes to agile planning. There are many reputable agile project management software tools available for download or via the cloud that can help you keep your team on track and meet your goals and deadlines.
- Accept that things will change. It’s important to understand that the agile methodology is based on a “fail fast” mentality where projects are broken down into smaller pieces called iterations or sprints. At regular intervals along the way, these iterations are examined and new ones are created based on feedback received from stakeholders and team members. This requires a mindset shift for many organizations who are used to creating detailed plans at the start of a project that don’t allow for much flexibility throughout its lifecycle. The goal of each iteration is to get closer to your final deliverable, but it’s also important to understand that you may also end up going
- Choose the right tasks and make sure they’re clear. Individual tasks should be small enough that they can be completed within a few days (no more than one week). If you’re working with a team, make sure everyone understands exactly what each task entails so there’s no confusion about who does what and when it’s complete
- Break down your major milestones into smaller chunks, build in time for testing and feedback, and then work backward from your deadline to determine the amount of time required for each chunk. To achieve effective milestones management, use a system that allows creation of projects, tasks and sub-tasks. Under each of the subtasks, the system should allow your team to make work progress reports and the outcome should reflect in the entirety of the project milestones and the final project too.
- Set up your board correctly and stick to it. Your Kanban board needs columns for each step of the process, from planning to testing, and from bug fixing to release. Make sure you have enough detail in each column so that everyone knows what needs to be done in every stage of work. As your team becomes familiar with the process, you may be able to get rid of or consolidate steps.
- Build a plan from the top down. You can’t start planning at the micro level. You need to start big and work your way down to the details as you put together the map for your project. Start by building the foundation so you have a guide for where your project is headed and which details are most important for reaching your goal. From there, you can focus on how best to reach those goals by identifying what tasks are required and when they should be completed by. Once you have this information mapped out, you can identify which tasks are dependent on each other and make sure everything gets done in time for your deadline. Scrum methodology has taught us the importance of building plans from the top down. In traditional waterfall methods, you may start with the most detailed level of design first (the bottom), but in agile planning you start from the highest level of detail first (the top) and work down into greater levels of detail with each iteration.
The online project management tools are very helpful for all the team members, as these help in better tracking of the work to give a perfect plan. These tools help the team members to know about the status of the project accurately, and it even allows the management to take essential decisions. There is a huge difference between iterative methodologies and agile methodologies. The former focuses on achieving certain milestones such as developing structure, creating database and designing reports etc. Whereas agile approach focuses on frequent updates and releases as small modules, this ensures more focus on customer needs and ends up delivering better value in less time that can be accepted by customers.