Planning for Assured Outcomes
At TechMojo, we plan the nearer milestones in detail and the farther milestones at a high level. This helps us progressively unfold our scope increments iteratively.
What if core agile teams could make progress based on predictions on how much work they can finish for future Sprints? That’s exactly why we love Agile planning at TechMojo! It helps us align our product vision, release goals, sprint objectives, and daily tasks with the needs of our customers.
We don't plan everything upfront, but we adopt a rolling wave approach, where we plan the nearer milestones in detail and the farther milestones at a high level. This helps us progressively unfold our scope increments iteratively.
Product Planning Event: To create a unique experience, let us try and understand how TechMojo focuses on product prioritization. We begin with building a walking skeleton, using the key epics or features as distinguished headings for each column. We then organize user stories in a clear and logical manner, starting with the must-have ones at the top and gradually, moving to the nice-to-have ones at the bottom, under each column heading.
We delineate the scope for our Minimum Viable Product (MVP) release and subsequent releases by respecting product prioritization, business expectations, and the velocity of participating teams. This curated process will serve as a compass for our downstream releases and allow us to lay the foundation for an extraordinary product roadmap. Hence, as part of product planning exercise, we unlock the potential to forecast and strive for excellence.
These releases, meticulously aligned with their designated scope, become the cornerstone of predictability, instilling confidence in our stakeholders. This collaborative effort not only helps us outline our product’s future direction but also allows us to communicate our plans with stakeholders, effectively. By identifying and addressing potential risks early on, we can take prompt action and ensure a smoother execution of our plan. Every decision made during this event signifies our unwavering commitment to excellence as we harness the collective wisdom and expertise of our partners at TechMojo.
We're thrilled to have you on board for this exciting journey of product planning. Together, we'll shape a future filled with remarkable products and delight our stakeholders with innovative solutions.
Here’s our sample Product Planning Event Outcome:
Release Planning Event: Building on the guidance of the product planning stage, we now embark on the release planning journey.
Before this, our product and tech teams engage in an intricate process of assorting user stories. These stories undergo a meticulous grooming process, ensuring their compliance with the esteemed Definition of Ready (DOR) standards. This collaborative effort harmonizes with the velocity of the teams involved, seamlessly aligning their capabilities with the upcoming releases. The “Go” decision at the checkpoint meeting forms the crucial checkpoint to assess the readiness of our teams to conduct the release planning meeting.
As the release planning journey progresses, the release backlog user stories are now distributed across various sprints, meticulously tailored to match the distinctive velocity of each team. This seamless orchestration follows the priority hierarchy set forth by our dynamic product team. By seamlessly synchronizing user stories with the capacities and priorities of our teams, we create a foundation for a release planning outcome for predictability.
Through this, we establish a roadmap for our upcoming releases that allows us to anticipate what lies ahead with a sense of certainty. The careful alignment of user stories and team velocities empowers us to make accurate predictions about project timelines and deliverables. We foster a climate of transparency and efficiency, ensuring that our stakeholders can confidently anticipate the progress of our releases.
Here’s a sample Release Planning Event Outcome (i.e. release roadmap):
Consequently, the release roadmap emerges as a powerful orchestrator, determining the allocation of teams (the "who"), the assignment of user stories (the "what"), and the designated sprints (the "where"). This triad of crucial elements plays a pivotal role in predictability for our stakeholders. By diligently detecting and acknowledging potential pitfalls and challenges at an early stage, we are able to swiftly convert them into actionable items. This proactive approach provides valuable insights and guidance while also serving as a catalyst for informed decision-making and flawless execution of our plan.
Sprint Planning event: Following the Release Planning Event Outcome, we progress further towards the Sprint Planning exercise, which is executed in two parts.
In the initial phase, the product owner brings forth a prioritized and groomed collection of user stories to the team, carefully aligning them with the team's average velocity. During this collaborative exchange, the team is provided the opportunity to seek clarifications pertaining to the user stories and their acceptance criteria. With a stringent adherence to predictability of outcomes, only those user stories that meet the criteria of the “Definition of Ready” are granted entry into the sprint planning phase.
In the second phase, the team then undertakes the planning of the prioritized user stories. They break down the user stories into manageable sub-tasks that adhere to the predetermined criteria of the “Definition of Done”. The estimation process then commences, with the team assigning hours to each sub-task. Following this, they quantify the effort required to complete the user story while meeting the set “Definition of Done”.
To ensure a realistic plan, the team diligently performs capacity planning for the upcoming sprint – by deducting public holidays, planned leaves, and accounting for the necessary scrum event hours – an accurate measure of the team's capacity in terms of work hours is established. This approach allows for an informed allocation of tasks and ensures a feasible workload for the sprint.
The sample capacity planning outcome for a 6-member POD team is given below:
The sprint backlog then takes shape through a judicious analysis of the work hours required and the team's available capacity, while also accounting for any potential constraints or limitations. Thus, the sprint backlog takes shape, finely calibrated to deliver optimal results within the designated sprint timeframe.
The sample work required to implement sprint backlog user stories is depicted below:
On the sprint planning day, we recognize the significance of identifying key risks and impediments that may impact the sprint backlog. With utmost diligence, we scrutinize these challenges that may arise during the sprint and equip ourselves with the necessary tools to closely monitor and resolve them throughout the course of the sprint. This proactive approach enables us to stay on top of any potential impediments that may arise, ensuring that they are promptly tracked and closed.
Daily Planning event: Within our daily standups, each team member eagerly shares their individual plan for the day. This vital update serves as an opportunity for every team member to communicate their intended tasks and objectives for the day ahead.
Through this collaborative exchange, the team gains a comprehensive understanding of each member's plan, fostering a sense of alignment and shared purpose. This daily planning ritual seamlessly integrates with the overarching sprint planning outcome, ensuring a cohesive and synchronized approach towards achieving the desired sprint goal.
At Techmojo, we connect our core agile planning event outcomes in an iterative and incremental manner. This seamless integration allows us to harness the valuable guidance obtained from the product planning event and disseminate it through our daily planning events. Simultaneously, we embrace the upward flow of feedback, carrying insights gleaned from our daily planning events back to the grand stage of product planning.
Through this meticulous interplay, we construct the very building blocks of our predictability framework. Each event serves as a stepping stone, ensuring that the knowledge and insights acquired at one level inform and enrich the subsequent stages. This dynamic feedback loop fortifies our planning process, enabling us to refine our strategies, enhance our agility, and deliver outcomes that leave our business partners with a sense of unwavering certainty.
The interconnectivity among our core planning event outcomes and the reciprocal feedback loop empowers us to navigate the ever-changing landscape of our projects with grace and precision.