Agile planning is normally thought of as a process used in software development. It allows you to deliver technology in a timely manner without feeling overwhelmed or overworked.
Most project managers build project plans with a series of tasks laid out for the entire project listing specifics for each stage such as timeframes and dependencies. Agile project plans are based on features and focus on when those features will be delivered rather than how.
Agile planning is designed with the idea of not really knowing what the conditions will be like in six months, but a reasonably good guess can be put together based on what takes priority and how much functionality the team can deliver, so can this process be applied to project planning other than software development?
Make a list – It all begins with a checklist of tasks in order to properly plan.
Assess the situation – You then need to size up the tasks in hand and allocate them the time frame you believe they will require, but be realistic and not optimistic.
Prioritise – Many people struggle to prioritise, so look at your list and see if any of them have looming deadlines or which of them are more urgent than others.
Start completing tasks – Then begin to deliver on your promises, your list is already in order of priorities so start making your way through it, getting feedback and building on it if necessary.
Update as you go – You may get to a point where you find you have too much time or not enough. In either instance, take a step back and do a quick re-plan of your list to allow for lost or gained time.
We now know what agile planning is, but can it be used in all manner of jobs and situations? In short, yes.
It allows you to quickly breakdown your workload and create a clear focus. A drop in productivity can be due to skipping between tasks continuously so that you are doing your work but you find yourself with few completed projects. Not only does this lack focus, but it can be detrimental to your working morale. There is a satisfaction that couples with the completion of a task or project that is highly motivating. With agile planning, the breakdown of tasks allows you to reach the point of completion more strategically.
Every project can be broken down into more manageable chunks, meaning you can keep pace by switching things up more often. It is also a great way to manage a team, as you are able to more closely monitor progress; if you query about a long-standing project, you can more effectively assess its completion by the number of tasks finished within the larger project.
It may be becoming more obvious now, but Agile Project Planning gets its name because of its dynamic and well-paced structure, acting as a great motivator. Businesses need to be looking at how they project manage and whether it is getting the most out of teams and individuals. Monitoring progress and feeding back on it.