Disciplined Agile

Plan the Release

This Inception process goal describes how we will approach creating an initial plan for our team. Although the details will emerge throughout Construction, we still should think about how we’re going to work together and the general timing of that work. To be effective, we need to consider several important questions:

  • Who will be involved in planning?
  • What is the scope of our planning effort?
  • What is our overall strategy driving this plan?
  • How detailed should our plan be?
  • What cadences will the team adopt?
  • What approach to estimating will we take? 
2021 Project Management Institute Plan the Release v5.2 Source of Plan Self-organizing team Team leadership Manager facilitated Manager-driven Scope of Plan Product/solution Release Scheduling Strategy Continuous delivery Cost driven Date driven Timeboxed Scope driven Level of Detail of the Plan Rolling wave High level Detailed None Choose Schedule Cadences Internal releases Iteration length Phase duration Production releases Estimating Strategy Educated guess by an experienced individual(s) Educated guess by team Similar-sized items Relative mass (grid) valuation Planning poker None Function points Cost set by stakeholders Choose Estimation Unit Relative points T-shirt sizes Normalized points Hours Capture Plan Burndown chart Burnup chart Business canvas Cost projection Desired outcome(s) Gantt chart (detailed) Gantt chart (high level) Iteration schedule Milestone schedule PERT/GERT chart Ranged burndown chart Ranged burnup chart Staffing plan Table Value projection

Figure 1. The Plan the Release process goal diagram (click to enlarge)

Why is This Important?

There are several reasons why this is important:

  • Our stakeholders will require fundamental management questions to be answered. In particular, the majority of agile teams are ask how long a release will take and how much it will cost.
  • We want to have a viable strategy. Your primary goal should be to think things through before you do them, not to produce documentation (a plan) describing what you think you’re going to do.
  • We need to set reasonable expectations. Our stakeholders, including other delivery teams, will make important decisions based on our plan. Similarly, during Inception the team decides how it will work together and the plan will reflect several key decisions such as choice of lifecycle, governance strategy, and risk mitigation efforts.

More Information

Choose Your WoW!

The strategies/practices referenced in the goal diagram above are described, including the trade-offs involved and considerations for when (not) to apply them, in the book Choose Your WoW! A Disciplined Agile Delivery Handbook for Optimizing Your Way of Working.

If you want to succeed at enterprise agile you need choices, not prescriptions.