Agile Project Planning In Twelve Easy Steps

04 Mar, 2011
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  1. Create a list of all your requirements in Epic format (think Product Breakdown). 
  2. Break down each Epic into work items in User Story format (think Work Breakdown).
  3. Determine which Epics and/or User Stories have dependencies. 
  4. Visualize dependencies in a network diagram.
  5. Create an estimate for each User Story using Planning Poker Points, NESMA Function Points, Gummy Bears, anything but time and/or money. 
  6. Assign business value to all Epics and divide this value between the User Stories based on their point-estimate. 
  7. Sort the list of User Stories based on priority, dependencies and business value per point-estimate (triage). Having trouble sorting the list using triage? Pick another prioritization technique. 
  8. Take an educated guess (assumption) about the number of hours per point you’re likely to spend, based on a representative sample of User Stories taken at random. 
  9. Calculate duration based on your assumption. 
  10. Use the calculated duration as input for a Monte Carlo analysis to create your first rolling wave planning.  
  11. Correct the assumption every sprint based on the progressive average of the actual hours per point ánd a new Monte Carlo simulation for the remaining duration. 
  12. Report regularly, preferably in a reporting format currently in use by the organization.
Laurens Bonnema
Agile Trainer, Management Consultant, and Graphic Facilitator. Mentor to leaders creating resilient organizations at any scale. I make boring business notes fun!

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