Big Room Planning | Agile Scaleup | IQbusiness
31 March 2021

Big Room Planning

By Natalie Janse van Rensburg

Given the momentum that Agile has gained at organisation and industry level over the years, scaling is a topic that is becoming more and more relevant.

Organisations paying close attention to how they scale are likely to experience better outcomes.

Big Room Planning (BRP) could be one of the mechanisms to ensure scaling efforts bear the requisite fruit.

BRP is a recurring two- or three-day event which can be facilitated remotely or in person. It addresses the challenge of cross-domain planning by bringing together all parties involved in delivering a product, solution, or service to align to a common .
The event takes place on a regular cadence of 8-12 weeks (known as an increment) and involves everyone needed to realise the objectives – context, decision-making, and execution.
At the end of the BRP, everybody is clear on the objectives and the value they represent, how work will be sequenced to manage inter-team dependencies, and the key programme-level risks that must be managed to ensure a successful implementation.

Inputs

  • Business context
  • Desired solution or product goals for the increment (8- to 12-week planning horizon)
  • A feature backlog that supports these goals

Execution Process

  • Plot the work where delivery is realistically anticipated
  • Gain clarity and make trade-offs
  • Identify, manage, and visualise inter-team dependencies and risks

Outputs

  • A set of committed objectives for the increment
  • An initial plan to manage inter-team dependencies and achieve objectives

Key Success Factors

  • Good alignment on direction and priority before the BRP
  • All parties are familiar with the Features or Enablers (and context) coming into the BRP
  • All the right people are fully present – those expected to do the work, those with the understanding of the ask, and those with decision-making authority
  • All parties are proactively involved
  • Planning is done around actual capacity – using empirical data as a guide
  • There is a clear Definition of Done for Features
  • Commitment is made to Objectives not Features – this is needed to maintain agility 

By providing clear context and direction, shortening feedback loops, and reducing the massive effort and risk involved in managing inter-team dependencies, BRP sets the increment up for success.

How IQbusiness can help

Preparing for and running a Big Room Planning can be a mammoth task. With a combination of our expertise and knowledge assets, IQbusiness can help you prepare for and facilitate your event. Our offering typically spans over three Big Room Planning events, always with the aim of embedding the competency in the organisation.

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