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Agile Team Planning

Definition

Agile Team Planning provides Agile teams with the structure within which to carry out team planning; using kanban boards to visualize, plan and coordinate work activities that align to strategic priorities.

Business Outcomes

Team Backlog Management

  • We can visualize all planned and unplanned work on a team kanban board.​

  • We can break down features into stories and tasks, adding them to the team backlog and estimating size as appropriate.​

  • We can dynamically prioritize and sequence work in the context of size, value, and team capacity considerations.​

  • We can ensure teams remained aligned with strategic priorities by connecting work on team boards to program and portfolio kanban boards.

Team Objectives and Key Results (OKRs)​

  • We can create team objectives, aligned with program- and portfolio-level objectives, and associate the relevant key results for tracking.​

  • We can measure the progress of team OKRs by capturing associated metrics for the key result score and rolling up the objective.​

  • We can track the activity history for the key result progress changes for auditability.​

  • We can align work activities with Team OKRs by connecting Key Results to LeanKit cards.​

Process Flow

           

Click a process step shape inside a light blue area for more information; hover for a quick view of the definition

           

Agile Team Planning process flow.pngCreate stories Describe and categorize stories Estimate story sizes Prioritze story backlog Schedule stories into appropriate timeboxes Create and define objectives Define current and target metrics Monitor progress through key results Agile Team Delivery Agile Program Planning > Program Backlog Management

           

Team Backlog Management Process Steps and Best Practices

The following table describes the Team Backlog Management process steps, all of which take place Planview LeanKit.

Process Step Description
Create stories Break features down into discrete user stories for the team to work on.
Describe and categorize stories Clearly define a goal for each user story that team members can work toward.
Estimate story sizes Realistically assess the scope of the work that will be required to complete each user story.
Prioritize story backlog Rank the stories in the backlog to determine which stories should be worked on first.
Schedule stories into appropriate timebox Spread story cards across the available timeboxes, such as sprints, to avoid overloading team members with work. Respect work in progress (WIP) limits.

Team Backlog Management Best Practices

  • Use the board's backlog lane to help manage your timeboxes (such as sprints) and track the progress of work as it goes through your process.
  • Regularly review your backlog and replenish your input queue with items from the backlog as work gets completed.
  • Periodically evaluate the age of cards in your backlog and decide if those items are still relevant; these cards may not be of high-enough priority to enter your process flow.
  • To prioritize the story backlog, you can use the Weighted Shortest Job First (WSJF) model, which ranks each story by dividing the cost of delaying work by the size of the work.​ Then schedule the stories that can deliver the most value in the least amount of time first.​

           

           

Team OKRs Process Steps and Best Practices

The following table provides information for Team OKRs, information for which is viewable in Planview LeanKit.

Process Step Description
Create and define objectives Team objectives should be ambitious, definable in concrete terms, and able to be implemented in current conditions and timebox.
Define current and target metrics (key results) for objectives Team key results should be clearly defined, measurable, and easily verifiable within a realistic timeline.
Monitor progress through key results Teams should periodically review the current state of key results to see whether they are making progress toward the objective.

Team OKRs Best Practices

  • Track progress towards OKRs using early indicators, such as website traffic, app usage, and in-app feedback.
  • Use direct customer feedback through social media engagement, focus groups, and other channels to assess the progress of any given initiative.
  • Objectives can be long-lived (a year or longer), while key results evolve as the work progresses.

           

           

Kanban Best Practices

Design Team Boards Around Processes, Not Time

  • A team kanban board should be designed to represent a process where work arrives and is delivered through a system. The lanes on a board represent the activities performed on units of work so that they can be completed and delivered. Each lane contains cards, which are the units of work that have value that the team delivers.

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    Boards, lanes, and cards

               

  • When creating a team board, focus on process-centric design; board design should represent a process by which value is delivered. Focus the board design on managing the work itself, not the people doing the work. You're not trying to visualize and measure the performance of individuals; you’re trying to measure the performance and efficiency of a process.

  • Avoid designing the board around units of time because time is not a process. This is especially true for team boards because the focus of such boards should be on the process of executing and delivering work, not how long the work takes.

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    Manage work, not people

               

  • Design lanes, sublanes, and swimlanes to fit your process.

    Add cards from left to right on the board; that is, in a not started (Backlog) > started (Doing) > finished (Done) progression. This is important for a few reasons; from a visualization standpoint, using this progression lets you quickly see which work is closest to completion and is thereby closest to delivering value. Card positions on the board influence the status of work progression and therefore the roll-up of information from child cards to parent cards and any associated reports that show how well you are meeting your delivery commitments. In addition, when using boards as part of an integrated solution, the information from cards, such as actual start and actual finish dates or percent complete, rolls up to Enterprise One or PPM Pro.

  • Make sure that your board isn’t overly complex. Keep it short, sweet, and to the point, especially in the beginning phases. You can always flesh your kanban board out later on, if needed. This will help you reduce time coordinating the who, what, and where of your project, allowing you to get started sooner than you would have otherwise.

  • After using the team board for a few months, it is typical—and even expected—to refine your process and board design to improve the flow of work.

  • By default, any lane that you create between the far-left (Backlog) lane and the far-right (Done) lane is considered to be started; however, you can change the change the lane type for the middle lanes to a Not Started or Finished lane type. This can be especially useful when you want to have a lane for work that has recently been completed, but that you don’t want to be automatically archived in the Done lane. This could give your team additional time to perform a retrospective on the completed work before deciding to move it into the Done lane for archiving.

               

    How to identify Not Started, Started, and Finished lanes

               

  • Using a vertical split, you can create sublanes within lanes, giving you the flexibility to represent more granular process steps within the higher-level process. For example, you could add three sublanes—Step 1, Step 2, and Step 3— underneath the Doing lane.

               

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    Example of sublanes

               

  • Using a horizontal split, you can create swimlanes to represent parallel processes within a lane or to represent different teams within a lane.

               

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    Example of swimlanes

               

           

           

Outputs, Reports, and Analytics

Coming soon.