Blitz Planning

room: Grand Ballroom E — time: Thursday 09:00-09:45, Thursday 09:45-10:30
Level: Introductory

No, you don’t get to skip project planning. Brooke needs to know approximate cost and delivery date, and poor Padma need to know when the good stuff will start showing up. You yourself need to know dependencies and delays.

This is the shortest, fastest, easiest way I know to create a project plan. It’s full name is “Project Planning Jam Session”, to indicate that all roles are present for the session, from sponsor to business person to designers and testers. Thanks to Jens Coldewey for first showing this to me in 1998 – it instantly improved the way our teams developed project plans.


The short of the story is that everyone writes down all the tasks they know of onto index cards, throws them onto a long table, from which point they sort, add estimates and notes, look for the Walking Skeleton and the First Delivery, strategize and restrategize about roadblocks, costs, time, resources, moving the cards around as they go. Older folks will recognize this as an annotated Pert chart, constructed collaboratively with cards.

It’s so simple I only allow 90 minutes for you to experiment with the technique. Allow 15 minutes for Hello and a demo, 40+ minutes for your assignment, 20 minutes to discuss, and 15 minutes for variations in the program.

What you want to get out of this session is what it feels like to move cards around on the table and annotate them, and see the variations of the project plan grow under your eyes.

Learning outcomes
  • How simple project planning can be
  • How to detect bottlenecks and possible staffing problems early
  • How to mark dependencies
  • How to mark Walking Skeleton and First Delivery
  • How to engage business and development together in creating a drat project plan
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