The Five Levels of Agile Planning

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Summary:

Contrary to popular belief, agile projects require as much planning as any other project type. It is the timing of this planning and how we attempt to minimize wasted effort that is different from other approaches. This article attempts to explain the different levels of agile planning and how we utilize them in an ongoing project.

To many people, working in an agile manner means little or no planning, or planning at the last possible moment (e.g., writing user stories for the upcoming iteration during the iteration planning meeting). While this may work in a very small project with a close-knit, highly effective team, for larger projects, it becomes problematic.

Contrary to popular belief, agile projects require as much planning as any other project type. It is the timing of this planning and how we attempt to minimize wasted effort that is different from other approaches. This article attempts to explain the different levels of agile planning and how we utilize them in an ongoing project.

All projects have different levels of requirements

All projects have different levels of requirements, represented in various forms depending on the type of project approach we take. These levels of planning are typically exclusive events involving different people. However, we must ensure that knowledge flows from one level to another (and back again) as seamlessly as possible, or else the intent of the solution can easily be lost or misunderstood.

We start with looking at the big picture through project planning. Note that this is different from the formal project plan you may be used to that is an artifact of the project management office.

Looking at the big picture through project planning

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