Case study on agile planning sessions

Daphne Ogle daphne at
Thu Oct 11 19:39:45 UTC 2007

Hi all,

I promised to send out a case study on agile planning sessions to  
help us gain common ground and make the conversation more concrete.   
Check out, "The Nature of the Team" under the Resources section at  Planning sessions are  
specifically discussed on:

- pg 12, "Interactive Planning Sessions"
- pg 18, "The Project Plan"

Reading the entire document will help put the planning sessions in  
context.  As we talked about at the meeting, our goal for this  
process is to gain transparency into the work and status as it's  
happening, enable regular conversations about priority, resource  
needs and evolving state of our knowledge and how that effects the  
roadmap.   The wiki page referenced above describes the goals and  
plan in more detail.

Some questions to ponder before next week's meeting:

-  Are there applications that can help us replicate the interactive  
moving around of story cards in our distributed world?
-  Do we need a coach?  If so, who interested?  Although we've talked  
about taking a lightweight approach, there will still be coordination  
and management overhead to collect and organize story cards and run  
the meetings.
-  What is the right level of granularity for our story cards?  My  
experience has been that they are pretty granular for near term  
activities and they get more abstract the further out they are in the  
plan (makes sense not to spend a lot of time on describing longer  
term activities since things change as we learn more and adapt).    
Seems like we want to be granular enough to define realistic  
estimates but we'll all be working with different processes and  
methods depending on the project team so a certain amount of detail  
is probably unrealistic.
-  What is your estimated time commitment to Fluid UX activities?   
We'll need to have some realistic total number of hours available in  
order to slot cards into the time for each iteration.  The time we  
each have will likely change across time depending on other work and  
local priorities; but we should come up with a starting point.
-  What's the right length for an iteration?  We talked having  
monthly planning sessions and thus iterations.
-  What's the best way to do estimating?  My experience has been that  
each team member gives an estimate for a particular activity based on  
that individual doing the work and then an average is used for  
planning.  In that case, we didn't know who would be assigned to each  
activity at the point of estimating so it made sense to take an  
average.  We may have more information about who will be working on  
particular activities.  How does Toronto handle estimates?

Daphne Ogle
Senior Interaction Designer
University of California, Berkeley
Educational Technology Services
daphne at
cell (510)847-0308

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