Importance of Planning

How often does a plan change? Have you ever experienced trying to stick with a plan, knowing that it is going to fail?

Dwight D. Eisenhower once said, “Plans are worthless, but planning is everything.”

In an Agile organization, planning is one of the keys to success for any team. In the Agile Manifesto, this is very clear as it states, “responding to change over following a plan,” and one of the principles behind the Agile Manifesto as “welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer’s competitive advantage.”

Here are some things that an organization can do to make planning successful:

  1. Focus on shipping features that roll into the road-map as opposed to specifically focusing on items such as overall story points, resources, etc. Customers want working software. They aren’t paying for story points, etc. By focusing on features shipped, we get a realistic view as to what has been done in regards to working software in the customer’s hands.
  2. Focus on one item at a time. Multitasking kills productivity. In Lean, this is identified as a waste. It has been proven over and over that multitasking will potentially cause a drastic reduction in productivity.
  3. Implement a framework that is lightweight such as ceremonies and concepts from Scrum, LeSS, Lean, etc. This will allow teams to inspect and adapt more often and set shared goals that are smaller and much more achievable that roll up to the strategy for the product(s).
  4. Prioritize items based on maximizing customer value and continuously prioritize based on customer feedback.

Planning is key as opposed to a plan, especially in product development. With new technology being introduced constantly, it more important than ever to understand and listen to your customers through continuous feedback and planning.

What are your thoughts on planning?

Please share them in the comments below.

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