Going Agile, 10 Mistakes: Don’t Create a Project Plan


Levent Gurses has an article, 10 Mistakes in Transitioning to Agile, in the Dec 2006 Dr. Dobbs Journal. He writes about the most common mistakes that companies make when transitioning from “legacy development methodologies” to agile ones. In this series of short articles for the winter holidays, we’re looking at each of the ten mistakes he identified. Enjoy the light reading, and don’t think too much about work.

Mistake 6: Do Not Create a Project Plan Before the First Two Iterations

After doing the ‘prep work’ for the project, you are ready to begin. When “the boss” asks for a project plan, tell him to wait 6 weeks.

Our Addition

One of the biggest weaknesses of agile approaches is that it is difficult to plan and communicate the “ultimate results” or when they will be achieved. Agile approaches rely on their ability to react to change, and save time by not asking questions until the answers are immediately useful. Don’t exacerbate the challenge of setting external expectations by waiting as late as possible. Remember, this is a big change for the current organization – a little upfront forecasting and planning will pave the way for organizational change.

2 thoughts on “Going Agile, 10 Mistakes: Don’t Create a Project Plan

  1. I must be confused. Are you saying to *not* develop a release plan? Especially when you’re moving to agile, not having any plan will confuse management and make them suspicious.

    It’s reasonable to create a release plan that says, “Here’s where we’re headed. We will take two iterations to measure our progress and update the release plan. In the meantime, here’s the location of our product backlog and here’s the location of our iteration backlog, if you want to see where things are.”

    Maybe I don’t understand what you’re saying.

  2. Sorry for the confusion Johanna – the “mistake” would be not having a project plan. My thoughts are that when transitioning to Agile for the first time, over-communication (early and often) is very important. We’re asking our execs to take a leap of faith and do something they haven’t done before.

    Thanks again for reading and commenting!

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