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How to Apply the Seven Planning Stages of an Agile Project

The seven stages of planning in Agile project management occur up front and throughout the entire project. By planning broadly at first and in detail later, when necessary, you don't waste time on planning lower-priority product requirements that may never be implemented. This model also lets you add high-value requirements during the project without disrupting the development flow.

By planning at the last responsible moment — right before an activity starts — you know the most about that activity. This type of just-in-time planning or situationally informed strategy is a key to agile’s success. Each stage is repeatable, and each stage contains planning activities. Planning in agile, like development in agile, is iterative.

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Stage 1: Identify your agile product vision

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Stage 2: Create an agile product roadmap

The product roadmap is a high-level view of the product requirements with a loose time frame for when to develop those requirements. Identifying product requirements, and then prioritizing and roughly estimating the effort for those requirements, allows you to establish requirement themes and identify requirement gaps. Revise the product roadmap biannually with support from the development team.

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Stage 3: Create an agile release plan

The release plan identifies a high-level timetable for the release of working software or other product. The release serves as a mid-term goal that the scrum team can mobilize around. An agile project has many releases, with the highest-priority features appearing first. You create a release plan at the beginning of each release.

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Stage 4: Plan agile sprints

The product owner, the scrum master, and the development team plan sprints, and start creating the product within those sprints.

Sprint planning sessions take place at the start of each sprint. During sprint planning, the scrum team determines a sprint goal, with requirements that support the goal and can be completed in the sprint, and outlines how to complete those requirements.

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Stage 5: Hold daily agile scrum meetings

During each sprint, the development team has daily scrum meetings to coordinate the day's priorities. In the daily scrum meeting, you discuss what you completed yesterday, what you’re working on today, and any roadblocks you have so that you can address issues immediately.

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Stage 6: Hold an agile sprint review

In the sprint review at the end of every sprint, the scrum team demonstrates the working product to the product stakeholders.

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Stage 7: Hold an agile sprint retrospective

The sprint retrospective is a meeting in which the scrum team discusses how the sprint went and plans for improvements in the next sprint. Like the sprint review, you have a sprint retrospective at the end of every sprint.

   
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