Why is planning in agile projects still needed?

I share this post!

Yes, I am convinced that planning is needed in agile projects.

I am not talking about sprint planning, but project planning that most of the time is represented in Gantt charts.

Agile is a discovery journey. You expect to adapt your product based on users’ feedback.

So, why do I need to create a 6 month or 1 year planning if you don’t know how the product will look like at the end?

Once again, yes you need a planning doesn’t matter if you are managing an agile project.

Some premises to consider when planning in agile projects:

  • A planning is a communication tool
  • Plannings aren’t written in stone
  • Pure agile requires the right mindset that I don’t always find among your stakeholders
  • I adapt the planning as new elements appear in the WBS

So, why planning is still needed in agile projects?

Given the above premises, this is why I consider that planning is still needed in agile projects:

  • Key stakeholders need to know how and when the company money is invested. So my planning helps me to manage stakeholders expectations
  • A good product oriented WBS syncronized to the planning, will provide them the information about in WHAT and WHEN the company money will be used. So my planning will help me to manage communications
  • I pay special attention to tell my stakeholders that the planning will change based on users’ feedback.
  • So the planning represents the current hypothesis of when we will deliver the expected value given the users’ feedback we have at the moment.
  • This theoretical planning is also a valuable input to manage program and portfolio investments, as in more of the cases, my project is not the only project in the organizations I work with.

Conclusions

Often, when we think about managing agile project we think about sticky notes in a kanban boards, and sprints.

However, even if you are managing an agile project, there is still value on using project management planning represented in GANTT charts as a communication tool, specially when you are dealing with the expectations of the stakeholders more used to traditional project management.

And you, do you think that there is still place for project planning in agile projects?

Cheers,
Falcon