Agile Project Management–Planning Process Group

At the end of the second chapter of John Stenbeck’s book “PMI-ACP  and Certified Scrum Professional Exam Prep and Desk Reference”, he creates an “Agile Project Management Process Grid”, divided into five process groups and seven knowledge areas.

Chapter 3 covers the Initiating Process Group, and that is the group of processes I have been covering for the past two months.   Now, we are going into the heart of agile project planning, and the book requires three whole chapters 4 through 6 to cover all of this material.

So let’s start with an overview of the process group in general.

First, despite the term “agile,” planning is just as complex and time-consuming as in traditional project management.   And, like in the case of traditional project management, successful agile planning at the beginning of the project is the key to creating customer satisfaction at the end of the project.

Characteristics of Agile Planning

Here are some of the basics of agile planning:

  1. Product feature prioritization–only product features with the highest priority for the customer/proxy have to be planned in detail before initiating the project
  2. Short iterations–these deliver valuable features sooner so that the customer/proxy can interact with a tangible or intangible yet functional product.
  3. Customer flexibility–ensured through re-prioritizing product backlog between iterations.
  4. Team stability–ensured by not allowing changes to the iteration backlog during the iteration.
Organic vs. Overt Practices
Organic practices are defined as those that are inherently part of the agile framework.   Overt practices (aka interventions) are externally imposed upon the agile framework    Agile planning can benefit from both organic and overt practices.
Agile Planning Levels
Here are the agile planning levels, from highest (longest time horizons) to lowest (shortest time horizons), where each level is decomposed from the level of above it.
  1. Market portfolios–longest time horizons and broadest descriptions of the product
  2. Product functionality (aka Themes)–delivered in successive linked waves
  3. Roadmaps–functionality is operationalized in Epics and further defined in Feature Stories.
  4. Releases (User Stories)–in each iteration, user stories are defined that aline with the Feature Stories and can be integrated into product functionality.

The next post will start with the first of the processes in the Planning process group that belong to the “External Stakeholders Engagement” knowledge area, namely Process 1.5 Product Roadmap.



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