Jim Highsmith has an article titled “Planning and Scanning” in ComputerWorld this week:
Jim reminds us that being Agile doesn’t mean being stupid, something I admit doing quite frequently. The basic idea is that while the focus of Agile project management is inspection and adaptation, PMs cannot ignore the need for some foresight in decision making. He calls this active foresight “Planning and Scanning”. Jim suggests three areas where Agile PMs can look forward: experimentation and management of risk, assumptions, and decisions.
I like Jim’s suggestions about assumptions and decisions in particular. I recently managed a (non-software) project where we had to make assumptions about the customer’s needs as they were unavailable. We tracked those assumptions and periodically reviewed and adjusted them when more information came to light. This worked well to focus our efforts based on the best information we had.