Vic’s Picks: Planning and Scanning

Jim Highsmith has an article titled “Planning and Scanning” in ComputerWorld this week:
http://www.computerworld.com/managementtopics/management/
project/story/0,10801,99714,00.html

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.

Victor Szalvay

Victor Szalvay currently leads product development for CollabNet’s ScrumWorks® product suite. In that capacity, he works closely with customers, stakeholders, and the development teams to deliver high business value each release cycle. With more than 150,000 active users worldwide, ScrumWorks is used by more than half of the Fortune 100 and boasts the largest market share of any Agile management tool.

Posted in Agile
One comment on “Vic’s Picks: Planning and Scanning
  1. Kelley Louie says:

    Inspect and Adapt

    In order for a project to succeed, inspect and adapt must be used within every aspect of the project. If choices and decisions are not reviewed periodically, it could adversely affect the goals.
    Examine what the team knows at the moment and what will the team need to know to meet the goals. What contribution can each team member including managers make to help find the answers? Tackle these issues before the issues impend progress.
    We can not be reactionary. We need to think of what could happen in the future and plan accordingly. On the otherhand, do not make quick and un-analyzed decisions. All decisions need to be thoroughly examined. Can the team make the decision later? If the team makes a decision later, will it affect the team’s current or future progress? Make decisions on a need basis. If the decision can wait, wait. With further information and experience, more aspects of pros and cons of the decision will come to light.

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