Posted by: ahmedashfaque | March 3, 2016

agile and software project planning – part 3

In the previous post, we saw the essential ingredients of any agile methodology to build software products. Now we will discuss the planning aspects on agile projects.

Since agile projects have effectively eliminated the need to plan a project, if we still do any planning on these projects. The answer is yes. If so then how and why planning is still needed on these projects? Let us discuss.

Planning on agile projects is never done at project level. This is absolutely correct. But any agile project consists of a series of many short cycles of activities which help in building a software product. These short cycles are known as iterations or timeboxes. Each iteration is actually a small project. It can last from a week to 3 or 4 more weeks. Duration of each iteration is fixed by the nature of the software product being developed.

In each iteration, a few software requirements are taken and based on these requirements, some software product features are built. Each iteration has activities starting from software requirement management to creating software design to writing source code to test the software product. At this level, definitely some planning will help. For example, when the software requirements are stated which are used to build software product features then you can plan as to how much time it will take to write the source code or to design the software components or how much time it will take to test the software components which were built. Planning at iteration level can be termed as iteration planning.

Similarly on a daily basis, some minute level planning can help as to what activities should be taken for the day. Planning on a day basis can be termed as daily planning.

One of the weaknesses of traditional planning is that the scope of work is assumed to be fixed. But for software projects, it is extremely difficult to fix scope for a fixed time period. For example, it is almost impossible to say that time required to write source code for a particular business logic can be done over so many hours.

This is the reason, for agile projects, scope of work is not fixed when any planning is done. Any agile planning always has a variable amount of scope of work for a time period.


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