Agile Planning: A Beginner’s Guide To Planning & Executing Iterative Projects

With more customers looking at reducing project risks and realizing value faster, more teams are adopting agile methods. According to a PMI survey, over 70 percent of businesses report using some form of agile to plan and execute projects.

In this article, we’re going to guide you through the concepts of agile planning. We’ll look at how you can structure and execute your projects in a way that delivers great results!

Specifically, we’re going to give you an insight into:

What is Agile Planning? What are the Levels of Agile Planning? Tips for Planning Projects, Sprints & Daily Tasks Agile Planning in Toggl Plan

So, if you’re looking to increase your knowledge of agile ways of working, as well as hear some real-life examples, this article is for you!

Well, what are you waiting for? Let’s get started! 

What is Agile Planning?

Traditional project planning follows a ‘big bang’ approach whereby all of the change is co-ordinated and delivered at one fixed time. This often comes at the end of a project, after a lengthy period of detailed up-front planning, designing, and testing.

The agile planning process provides a more iterative approach. By delivering the project in smaller chunks, customers can realize the benefits quicker.

It might be easier to explain in an example… so here’s a case study!

Imagine you’re running a project to build a website. The website has 10 different pages, each serving a different function.

The development team estimates each page will take one week, meaning your website will take 10 weeks to build.

In traditional project management, you would only put the website live once all 10 pages have been completed. This would mean waiting the whole 10 weeks before your customers could get any value from your website – that’s way too long!

When applying agile principles, you may structure your website project to deliver two pages every 2 weeks. The project will still take 10 weeks to complete of course. But after only 2 weeks your customers can start accessing the website and start receiving value!

This is how it may look at the project-level, but how does this fit into the wider business landscape?

6 Levels of Agile Planning (or The Agile Planning Onion)

When making changes at pace, it’s important to plan effectively. The agile planning process happens on 6 different levels, and is often referred to as the Agile Planning Onion. Let’s take a look at how it works! 

1. Strategy Planning

This level of planning will usually be conducted by the senior leadership team. Here they’re laying out the strategy for the organization; specifying how they’re going to achieve the corporate objectives.

For example, the senior leadership team in a retail organization decides to invest in a new digital strategy. The goal is to increase revenue by 20%. This strategy is long-term and will be realized over the next 2 years.

2. Portfolio Planning

At the next level down, consider how to plan out the portfolio of products/services to achieve the strategy. Again the responsibility lies with senior members of the organization, typically at the head of department level.

Based on the strategy, the different portfolio teams come up with ways to make purchasing faster. The digital team decides to introduce a new mobile app to its portfolio. This

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