Many agile teams attempt to plan for an entire quarter at a time. Something changes—a better product opportunity, or a product development problem—and the quarter’s plan is not just at risk. That plan is now impossible. Instead of quarterly planning, consider continual planning. Continual planning allows a project or a program to use small deliverables to plan for the near future and replan often to deliver the most value.
While you may see benefits in your quarterly planning (working with each other, surfacing interdependencies, and the plan itself), you may find that your requirements change fast—even in the first two weeks. The quarterly plan is now at risk.
When the entire quarter’s plan is at risk, consider your options. You can’t bring everyone back together every two weeks or once a month to replan—that’s too expensive. Instead, create an environment of small continual planning. With continual planning, everyone can see the big picture roadmap and how the deliverables deliver that value. Teams are more likely to deliver small value which allows the planners to replan.
Just as we use cross-functional teams to deliver finished valuable product, we can use a cross-functional Product Owner Value Team (POVT) to use continual planning. The POVT contains these people:
– The Product Managers, the people who develop and refine product strategy and product roadmaps, and
– The Product Owners, the people who work with the teams to develop and refine product backlogs and stories.
With the help of agile roadmaps, the planners can think big and plan small, over and over again.