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Agile IQ®

Agile Planning Cadence

Influencing Behaviour. Secondary Factor.

Overview

Agile portfolios operate on quarterly cycles. Every quarter, new planning cycles considers investment to fund new value development and invests in operational support for its products, value streams, supply chains, and scaled agile programs.

Three key factors help organisations to cascade goals and objectives form the portfolio through to teams:

  • Alignment of work to be planned.
  • Cadence of planning and inspect/adapt cycles.
  • Consistency of quality, by building it in at planning.

Alignment

Alignment is needed to keep pace with fast change, disruptive competitive forces, and geographically distributed teams.

While agile teams are empowered to be self-managing, responsibility for strategy and alignment cannot rest with the combined opinions of the teams, no matter how good they are. Instead, alignment must rely on enterprise business objectives. 

Alignment starts with the strategy and investment decisions

The portfolio level reflects strategic investment themes in a Portfolio Backlog, prioritised by value and ready for teams to implement. All work is visible, debated, resolved and transparent.

Alignment is supported by clear lines of content authority

The at the Portfolio level, the Product Manager's goals and priorities cascade down through Product Owners in teams for Sprint Planning.

Product Goals, OKRs and Sprint Goals

Goals cascade and provide the primary mechanism to assess and re-align prioritise planning and delivery.

Cadence

All layers of the agile organisation “Sprint”. 

  • Portfolio: Monthly, with yearly strategic horizon planning.
  • Program: Quarterly (6-Sprints).
  • Team: 2-weeks.
alignment-and-cadence

With all teams on the same cadence, the whole program can introduce a pivot within as little as 2-weeks. This is due to Sprint Planning occuring at the same time across the whole program. Many teams at once can drop what they are currently focussed on and re-prioritise together.

When the system Sprints, it enables leaders to address one of the most common problems with traditional agile development: teams working on the same solution operate independently and asynchronously. That makes it extremely difficult to integrate the full system routinely. 

task-finger-bandage

Align or not align Sprints?

When teams' Sprints aren't aligned, it increases the risk of late discovery of issues and problems of the integrated solution.

Consistency of quality

Consistently building-in quality ensures that every element and every product increment of the solution reflects quality standards throughout the development lifecycle. Quality is not “added later.”

Building quality in is a prerequisite of Lean and flow—without it, an organisation will likely operate with large batches of unverified, unvalidated work. Excessive rework slows down flow and delays delivery.

Consistency of quality requires

Architecture & UX

Expert guidance to support Product Managers to ensure that solutions are sound, robust, reliable and scalable.

Economic prioritisation

Keeps stakeholders engaged in continuous, agreed-to, rolling-wave prioritisation, based on empiricism and evolving EBM metrics.

Consistent Definition of Done

At the very minimum, all teams working on the same product or solution have a common baseline Definition of Done. This ensures a minimum level of quality, compliance, and standards.

More on quality

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