Feb 12, 2021
Today Dan Neumann is joined by fellow AgileThought colleague and return guest, Andrea Floyd! Andrea is an enterprise agile transformation consultant at AgileThought with over 25 years of experience in software development and management. She is an innovator who has led multiple organization-wide scaled agile implementations, and she has also architected innovative solution strategies and roadmaps across many frameworks (including Scrum, Kanban, and the Scaled Agile Framework).
In this conversation, Dan and Andrea explore the topic of “Big Room Planning” — what it is, when you would use it, and how to do it. Andrea also shares the benefits of it as well as some advice on how to do it most effectively in your organization.
What is Big Room Planning?
The “what”: Big Room Planning is for when you have a need to bring together multiple teams to collaborate and get alignment on how they’re going to work together to achieve a set of objectives and/or goals for a certain time increment
It is an event where you bring teams together to have a collaborative conversation and create a forecast on what you hope to achieve in a given amount of time
In this conversation, you identify measures and/or time frames where you can have check-ins in order to see how you’re progressing or where you need to make some shifts
It is called Big Room Planning because it implies you would use this technique when you are trying to coordinate across interdependent teams or teams that have a level of impact on one another
It’s all about coming together and being able to see potential points of intersection
Big Room Planning gives the opportunity for different teams to see the different challenges they are encountering and reach their destination together
What Big Room Planning might look like:
It can be as “big” or “small” as necessary
Though it is more beneficial to do it in person, you can use Zoom or Microsoft Meets to hold this event
It is a big commitment and can run from two to three days, depending on where the organization is at in your product lifecycle and your path forward
Other great collaboration tools: MURAL and Miro
The benefits of Big Room Planning:
The “why”: it is essential to help in achieving alignment and a shared understanding so all teams can move together in the same direction
It’s important to plan as a collaborative enterprise so that you can sequence work, have the necessary conversations about timing and dependencies, and make everything visible
This forecasted plan arms the business decision-makers with the right information, transparency, and openness to converse with anyone in the organization
How do you adapt Big Room Planning to “Small Room Planning”?
Even if you’re an individual team, it doesn’t mean that there is not a need to forecast when features are going to be understood
You can do this for a single team and use feature points to give an understanding of the complexity and plot them on a roadmap
What can make Big Room Planning more effective:
Feature points (which can help you understand the relative effort and complexity of those features [just like when you do sprint planning and you have story points, feature points help you understand your capacity and your availability for your team/s])
A true commitment and investment of everyone involved is key for a positive outcome
It is important to understand the “what” and the “why”
Making everything visible so all teams can see how things are progressing
Establishing a working agreement is very helpful in coming up with your operating guidelines, what the outcomes you’re seeking are, and structuring out meeting times
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