Planning

This category contains 45 posts

There’s trouble in MoSCoW

Most project teams I work with prioritise their work in a simple order: most important, second most important, etc. But sometimes people still use the MoSCoW method, and I find this leads to problems. MoSCoW stands for Must, Should, Could, Won’t—it’s a way of categorising deliverables into one of four buckets. The Musts get done … Continue reading

Frequent delivery is the test of a plan’s quality

There are many ways to measure a plan’s quality. Some of these are: flexibility, how realistic it is, and the number of internal or external dependencies. But in the end for most people a plan is about delivering some end result within some stated time. A plan shows both approach and time—How and When. It … Continue reading

Prefer a backlog to a scope

I was speaking to a colleague recently about how her teams were getting on, and she said, “I’m pleased that we’re talking more about prioritising a backlog, much less about what’s in scope. That’s really good.” And it is good news. It shows that the teams are thinking much less about a single large edifice … Continue reading

If you can’t measure, prioritise

When planning a piece of work we can often find ourselves trying to measure or score the various features according to their value. For example, if our project is to attract new users to our product then Feature A might be measured as expecting to bring in 800 new users a month, while Feature B … Continue reading

Agile teams have more responsibility with less planning

Some people think agile teams have less responsibility because the plans are looser. In fact the opposite it true. When organisations start their agile journey, there are—inevitably—slips and confusion along the way. One thing that often happens is that the reduced up-front detailed planning leaves those outside a team to think there is “no planning” … Continue reading

Good plans are flexible

What makes a good plan? Superficially a good plan is one that delivers what we want. And certainly if a plan does end up delivering what we want then we can look back and say it was—at worst—good enough. But in reality it’s very rare that the plan we start off with is the one … Continue reading

Questions for developing a product idea

I often talk to people who have an idea for digital product and want to discuss how they might go about developing it. Recently I was speaking to others who have similar discussions with people, and we shared our general approaches. So here are two questions I ask when discussing the development of a new … Continue reading

Don’t focus on greatest value—focus on fastest value

Agile focuses on value. This is good but when it comes to prioritising we could be more refined than prioritising greatest value. Instead we should be focusing on fastest value, which is slightly different. The literature on cost of delay is where we find the explanation. It tells us to prioritise by something called “cost … Continue reading

More effective risk workshops

A common part of the traditional risk management process is to run a risk workshop. This typically involves getting a group of stakeholders together at the start of a project, and asking what might go wrong. Not only is it a good thing to seek out problems before they happen, it is constructive if we … Continue reading

The coffee estimate

Rough estimates can be useful—they can help us understand whether or not it’s worth undertaking a piece of work, or whether it’s worth digging deeper. But there’s a well-known danger, too: they can be misremembered as promises. “About three months” can easily become “But you said three months”. The problem is often that although the … Continue reading