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The 5 Levels Planning in Agile

​Agile is a philosophy for delivering solutions that embraces and promotes evolutionary change throughout the life-cycle of a product. Many teams and organizations have been using Agile to, deliver software more timely, increase quality, and ultimately increase customer satisfaction.

These planning levels were originally described by Hubert Smits in the whitepaper "5 Levels of Agile Planning: From Enterprise Product Vision to Team Stand-up".

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The 5 Levels Planning in Agile

  1. 1. The 5 Levels of Planning
  2. 2. About Dimitri Ponomareff Dimitri Ponomareff ( is a Coach. Whether it's a sports team, software products or entire organizations, Dimitri has that ability to relate and energize people. He is consistently recognized as a very passionate and successful change agent, with an overwhelming capacity to motivate and mobilize teams on their path to continuous improvements. He is a master facilitator, as well as a captivating speaker with consistent, positive feedback regarding his ability to engage an audience. As a certified Coach, Project Manager and Facilitator of "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People", Dimitri brings a full spectrum of knowledge in his delivery of methodologies. Through teaching by example, he is able to build teams of people who understand where to focus their work to generate the most value. He has coached and provided tailor-made services and training for a multitude of organizations. The short list includes, American Express, Charles Schwab, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, Best Western, Choice Hotels, JDA Software, LifeLock, First Solar, Infusionsoft and Mayo Clinic. Dimitri enjoys his work, and does everything to ensure he shares his knowledge with others who seek it.
  3. 3. The Agile Manifesto We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it. Individuals and interactions over processes and tools Working software over comprehensive documentation Customer collaboration over contract negotiation Responding to change over following a plan That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more. Source:
  4. 4. Planning Process Vision Roadmap R1 R2 R3 Rn Release 1 SP1 Iteration 1 ST1 STnST3ST2 Iteration n ST1 STnST3ST2 Story 1 T1 TnT3T2 Story n T1 TnT3T2 SPnSP3SP2 Release n SP1 SPnSP3SP2
  5. 5. Let’s play Plinko...
  6. 6. L1 - Vision ●Communication ●Elevator Pitch ●Voices of Why, What and How ●PDCA
  7. 7. Project Management is all about communication People who want IT must communicate with people who can build IT.
  8. 8. Elevator Pitch FOR (target customer) WHO (statement of the need or opportunity) THE (product name) IS A (product category) THAT (key benefit, compelling reason to buy) UNLIKE (primary competitive alternative) OUR PRODUCT (statement of primary differentiation) Source: Geoffrey Moore’s template from Crossing the Chasm
  9. 9. Why, What & How ●WHY are we doing this? Voice of the stakeholder (Stakeholders) ●WHAT needs to be done? Voice of the user (Product Owner, Subject Matter Expert) ●HOW do we build it? Voice of the developer (Scrum Team)
  10. 10. PDCA - Plan, Do, Check, Act ACT PLAN DO PDCA Cycle CHECK Continuous Improvements
  11. 11. L2 - Roadmap ●What is a Roadmap ●External Facing Roadmap
  12. 12. Roadmap ● a roadmap is a planned future, laid out in broad strokes ● intentions for the future given what we know and believe today - they are not commitments ● should be formulated by first understanding the target users, the market, and the underlying technologies ● a good product roadmap should invariably deliver the right products with the right features at the right time to the right customers
  13. 13. Client Facing Roadmap
  14. 14. L3-L5 Levels of planning Release Plan (months) Iteration Plan (weeks) Daily Plan (days) Product Backlog Sprint Backlog Stories Tasks ActivitiesActivitiesActivities
  15. 15. L3 - Release Planning ●Product, Epics & Stories ●Feature Driven Development (FDD) ●Feature Breakdown Structure (FBS) ●Parking Lot Charts ●Stories and Acceptance Criteria ●Estimation ●Release Burndown
  16. 16. Product, Epics & Stories Story Story Story Story Story Story Story Story Story Story Story Story Story Story Story Story Story Story Product Epics Stories
  17. 17. Feature Driven Development (FDD)
  18. 18. Alternative to Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) Activity Functionality Analysis Design Coding Testing Feature Feature Feature Module Module Module WBS or traditional projects Functionality Activity Story Story Story Story Analysis Design Coding Feature Breakdown Structure Testing Define the project plan in terms of what will be delivered rather than what work steps will be performed.
  19. 19. Parking Lot Charts
  20. 20. Story form As a < role > I can < activity > so that < business value > ● Role - represents who is performing the action. It should be a single person, not a department. It may be a system if that is what is initiating the activity. ● Activity – represents the action to be performed by the system. ● Business Value – represents the value to the business. Why is this story important?
  21. 21. Acceptance criteria ● like stories it's written in simple language ● define the conditions of success/satisfaction ● provide clear story boundaries ● remove ambiguity by forcing the team to think through how a feature or piece of functionality will work from the user’s perspective ● checklist or template of things to consider for each story ○ list of impacted modules and/or documents ○ specific user tasks, business process or functions ● establish the basis for acceptance testing ○ steps to test the story (given-when-then scenarios) ○ type of testing (manual vs. automated)
  22. 22. The Cone of Uncertainty
  23. 23. Estimation tools: T-shirts, Points & Hours Cone of Uncertainty 13853210 20 ? Hours XS S XLLM
  24. 24. Release planning ● Overall context and prioritization for a specific period of time ● Product Owner ○ Creates a goal for the release ○ Selects a number of user stories from the product backlog ○ Works with the team to decompose and estimate the user stories ● The outcome of the release planning process is ○ Release Data Sheet ○ Release Backlog ○ Release Burndown Chart
  25. 25. L4 - Iteration Planning ●Iteration planning ceremony ●Iteration Burndown
  26. 26. Iteration Planning Ceremony ● Team selects stories from the product backlog they can commit to completing ● Sprint backlog is created ○ Tasks are identified and each is estimated in hours ○ Tasks and estimates are done collaboratively ● High-level design is considered As a vacation planner, I can see photos of the hotels, so that ... 8 points Tasks Hours Code the middle tier 8 Code the user interface 4 Write test fixtures 4 Code the foo class 6 Update performance tests 4
  27. 27. Iteration Burndown
  28. 28. L5 - Daily Stand Up ●Plan your day...
  29. 29. Daily Planning Parameters ● Daily ● 15-minutes ● Stand-up ● Not for problem solving Three questions for each scrum team member 1. What did you do yesterday? 2. What will you do today? 3. Is anything in your way? These are not status for the Agile Project Manager, they are commitments in front of your peers
  30. 30. Big Picture ●Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) ●Agile Testing Framework (ATF) ●The 5 Levels of Planning in Agile
  31. 31. SAFe
  32. 32. © Torak, Inc. Agile, Kanban & DevOps Coaching Learn more at Learn more at Learn more at
  33. 33. Thank You
  34. 34. Resources and References ● ● ● ● ● ● The 5 Levels of Planning: From Enterprise Product Vision to Team Stand-up by Hubert Smits ● Agile Estimating and Planning by Mike Cohn ● Agile Project Management with Scrum by Ken Schwaber ● Agile Retrospectives by Esther Derby and Diana Larsen ● Agile Software Development Ecosystems by Jim Highsmith ● Agile Software Development with Scrum by Ken Schwaber and Mike Beedle ● Scrum and The Enterprise by Ken Schwaber ● User Stories Applied for Agile Software Development by Mike Cohn
  35. 35. This presentation was inspired by the work of many people and we have done our very best to attribute all authors of texts and images, and recognize any copyrights. If you think that anything in this presentation should be changed, added or removed, please contact us.