Agile Tools and Techniques

Building Your First Agile Workflow & Project Plan

Once you have selected your Agile project management tools, it is time to create your first Agile workflow and project plan.

It is easiest to develop a project plan before you create workflows, as the plan will identify which workflows and phases your project will need.

The Agile project plan's role is like that of any traditional project plan in many ways. Firstly, an Agile project begins with a pre-planning step where the project vision is both defined and documented. This is also where known business and technical requirements are documented.

This phase of basic project planning is also when your project team members will be assigned. High-level estimates for budget, time, and scope should also be gathered and documented. Your project team will then determine the number of sprints or iterations required for the project, the length of each sprint, and the expected deliverable or outcome.

The big difference between Agile and traditional project methodologies comes after high-level planning is done. For an Agile project, you’ll plan only the initial sprint in detail, rather than the entire project. Under Agile, it’s only after each sprint is completed that the next sprint’s details are planned. This iterative process enables your project team to adapt each sprint plan based on the previous sprint outcome(s).

The sprint details of your plan should be put into your Agile project management tool. If your software comes with templates, you may be able to use a blank Agile template or a sample Agile project plan to create your new project plan.

Once your project plan is complete, it is time to set up the proper project management workflows within your new Agile project software. For instance, if you will be using the Scrum framework, you will now need to create your Scrum workflow.

Workflows ensure tasks and activities move through the right people at the right time and the work is properly completed and tracked. Since Agile best practices recommend an iterative and incremental approach, your workflows need to accommodate cycles of work.

A standard workflow would often assume a task would move from “in progress” to “in review” to “complete.” But with Agile project planning, you may need to exchange tasks between “in progress” and “in review” several times before they ever get to the “complete” phase. It’s critical that your software can handle this without losing visibility of progress.

Once created, you can use these workflows, along with a project dashboard, to easily track your overall project progress.

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