Agile Project Planning Explained
Many think the agile approach doesn’t involve planning. But, as we know at 66degrees, that’s one of the biggest myths of antipattern pushback.
Agile doesn’t mean “no planning.” In fact, planning is one of the most critical parts of our engagement delivery process. It’s how we reduce uncertainty at every stage of a project. It differs from traditional methodologies, where planning happens only at the beginning of a project.
Through agile, 66degrees has established mechanisms and frameworks that enable us to respond and adapt quickly, and deliver better project results to our clients.
Let’s unpack how it works.
What Is Looker?
Like other BI tools, Looker is a cloud-based platform that takes business data and visualizes it. However, Looker goes two steps further than other options. As a result, it gives companies a unified, single source of truth for all their business metrics, and enables these metrics to be used to drive business processes and actions.
We believe reports and pretty dashboards are a small subset of the ROI from investments in BI.
The Pitfalls of Traditional Methodologies
Traditional methodologies are time-tested and proven to work. They allow us to spot issues and understand a project’s scope, duration, and costs. Scoping and upfront planning are vital for clients when making decisions. However, if any of these variables aren’t defined at the outset, they can generate additional costs, create an upset client, and deliver less-than-stellar project results.
In an ever-changing and rapid market full of uncertainty, agile continues to be one of the best methods for adapting to change. Prescriptive mechanisms provide a constant feedback loop from the client. Moreover, they enable us to apply quick and effective solutions that minimize the impact on the project budget and length.
But how does agile differ from traditional methodologies?
The Five Levels of Project Planning in Agile
In agile, there are five levels of project planning.
Level One: A daily stand-up, or the rundown of day-to-day activities.
Level Two: Sprint planning, where the team and client work together to define the iteration’s deliverables.
Level Three: Release planning, where the team establishes the deliverables to be completed in one or more iterations.
Level Four: Roadmapping, which helps the team visualize strategy and priorities.
Level Five: Vision setting, where the team defines the project’s long-term strategy.
As you can see, with frequent check-ins and planning at each level, roadblocks can be spotted ahead of time and quickly corrected.
These levels didn’t come about by themselves. They were born from frameworks like Scrum and developed as a need to maintain order and strategically devise a successful outcome. Regardless of whichever agile framework or methodology used, the objective is to keep a cycle between plan – fail – correct – plan to guarantee the efficiency of the process, the delivery of results, and the success of the project.
Agile Planning at 66degrees
Now that we’ve gone through the five levels of agile project planning, let’s look at how we put it into practice at 66degrees.
We start every morning with a stand-up to review each team member’s progress. This allows us to view outstanding action items and if the project is on track to be completed by the deadline. During the stand-up, we also review the sprint backlog.
An important part of planning is a shared backlog with our clients. This backlog provides the visual representation of the project scope where we then prioritize the relevant tasks that add value to the business. In all cases, we suggest the client participate in these meetings to ensure alignment.
Once we’ve defined the backlog, we decide on a release timeline. Backlogged items are typically defined from the roadmap. The roadmap helps us align on upcoming features. For example, we benefit by using Jira’s roadmaps in our backlog. It’s an easy way to show how things will move along the project.
Finally, the vision provides the long-term strategy for the entire project. It describes the value behind what 66degrees will deliver. We rely on these collaborative mechanisms and our team members’ input to maintain a sustainable vision and execute that vision.
Learn More About 66degrees’ Approach to Software Development
At the end of the day, we want the client and the team to be happy with the projects we deliver. As we continue to innovate, we lean on agile methodologies and principles to bring the most value to our clients. We adopt these principles not only for their agility but also for the transparency, collaboration, and empathy they provide.
Connect with us today to learn more about how we approach software development at 66degrees with agile planning.