Is release planning worth it?

This content is syndicated from LeanAgileTraining by Joe Little. To view the original post in full, click here.

In a word: Yes, if done professionally.

How is release planning, and release plan refactoring…how are they useful?

A few ideas:

  • It enables the Team to share ideas
  • It allows the Team to see the same elephant
  • It enables knowledge creation
  • It enables cost, benefit, time trade-offs to become apparent
  • It enables everyone to start to distinguish minor decisions from major decisions

Any professional also knows that planning is not and never will be perfect. So, we must put a reasonable time box on doing the planning.

It is also useful to plan with good ‘agile’ people. Meaning people who will use the information developed from planning in a useful way (eg, will not do the ‘stupid waterfall manager trick’ of expecting the Team to always hit the date they planned on Day Zero).

Let’s talk about this last one (minor versus major)…

To put things simplistically, there are two types of decisions, which I will call minor and major.  Minor decisions has a minor cost if we make them incorrectly.  If we are clever, we soon learn that we are wrong, and we correct the decision.

But some decisions are major. To change the decision later, it can be very costly in terms of money or time or reputation or some other factor.  Once we identify a major decision, we want to do our best to decide it correctly.  This means first being sure we have framed the decision question correctly.  Then, assuming this is a difficult decision, we want to make the decision at the ‘last responsible moment’.

***

Can planning be useless or worse?

Well, of course.  If you have people who will not learn.  If you have people who will take longer than the current knowledge can justify.  If you too many people who want to use the information for ‘stupid waterfall tricks’.

But if done with good people, using useful concepts, the Scrum Team (and others) can learn a lot doing Release Planning, followed by Release Plan Refactoring every sprint.

It is also true that we can learn by doing ‘real work’.  This is not to say ‘do only real work’…but one balances and shortens release planning (release plan refactoring) in the knowledge that we can and will learn some things faster by doing real work.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

eighteen + fifteen =


There are 101 ways to do anything.
To find the best way, sometimes you need expert help

What People Say

“Kelly is an extremely talented and visionary leader. As such he manages to inspire all around him to achieve their best. He is passionate about agile and has a wealth of experience to bring to bear in this area. If you're 'lucky' he might even tell you all about his agile blog. Above all this, Kelly is great fun to work with. He is always relaxed and never gets stressed - and trust me, he had plenty of opportunity here! If you get the chance to work with Kelly, don't pass it up.”

GILES BENTLEY, DEVELOPMENT & OPERATIONS DIRECTOR
TIME INC

“Kelly was engaged as a Program Director on a complex business and technology transformation program for Suncorp Commercial Insurance. Kelly drew on his key capabilities and depth of experience to bring together disparate parties in a harmonised way, ensuring the initiate and concept phases of the program were understood and well formulated. Excellent outcome in a very short time frame. ”

BRUCE WEIR/EGM
SUNCORP

“Kelly was a brilliant CTO and a great support to me in the time we worked together. I owe Kelly a great deal in terms of direction and how to get things done under sometimes difficult circumstances. Thanks Kelly.”

JULIE PEEL
GLASS'S INFORMATION SERVICES

“Kelly’s a leading program director with the ability to take charge from day one and keep strong momentum at both a program and project level driving prioritisation, resourcing and budgeting agendas. Kelly operates with an easy-going style and possesses a strong facilitation skill set. From my 5 months experience working with Kelly, I would recommend Kelly to program manage large scale, complex, cross company change programs both from a business and IT perspective.”

LUKE SHARKEY /STRATEGY & IMPLEMENTATION LEADER
SUNCORP

“Kelly and I worked together on a very large project trying to secure a new Insurer client. Kelly had fantastic commercial awareness as well as his technical expertise. Without him I would never had secured this client so I owe a lot to him. He is also a really great guy!”

GINA MILLARD
GLASS'S INFORMATION SERVICES

“Kelly revolutionised the way our digital department operated. A true advocate of agile principles, he quickly improved internal communication within our teams and our internal clients by aligning our business and creating a much enhanced sense of transparency in the decisions the business was making. Kelly also introduced a higher sense of empowerment to the development teams...”

PETER SILVA-JANKOWSKI
IPC MEDIA

“I worked with Kelly on many projects at IPC and I was always impressed with his approach to all of them, always ensuring the most commercially viable route was taken. He is great at managing relationships and it was always a pleasure working with him.”

BEATRIZ MONTOYA/CONSUMER MARKETING DIRECTOR
IPC MEDIA

“Kelly was a great colleague to work with - highly competent, trustworthy and generally a nice bloke.”

HANNAH JOYCE
GLASS'S INFORMATION SERVICES

“I worked with Kelly whilst at Thoughtworks and found him to be a most inspiring individual, his common-sense approach coupled with a deep understanding of Agile and business makes him an invaluable asset to any organisation. I can't recommend Kelly enough.”

PETER THATCHER, SENIOR ACCOUNT DIRECTOR
ThoughtWorks

“Kelly came to the department and has really made a huge impact on how the department communicates, collaborates and generally gets things done. We were already developing in an agile way, but Kelly has brought us even more into alignment with agile and scrum best practices, being eager to share information and willing to work with us to change our processes rather than dictate how things must be done. He is highly knowledgable about agile development (as his active blog proves) but his blog won't show what a friendly and knowledgeable guy he is. I highly recommend Kelly to anyone looking for a CTO or a seminar on agile/scrum practices - you won't be disappointed!”

ANDY JEFFRIES/TECHNICAL LEAD
IPC MEDIA

“Kelly is an Agile heavy-weight. He came in to assess my multi-million $ Agile development program which wasn’t delivering the right throughput. He interviewed most of the team and made some key recommendations that, when implemented, showed immediate results. I couldn’t ask for more than that except he’s a really nice guy as well.”

DAN PULHAM, DIGITAL DIRECTOR
TELSTRA

CONTACT US

To explore how we can help you, please get in touch