Quarterly roadmap planning with an Agile mindset
Most companies that I have worked at require the Agile Sprint teams to develop a roadmap for the project. Management typically wants to know what the “Big Rocks” are that I my team will be working on this business quarter and at least the next business quarter.
Below is an example of how to build sprint cycles into business quarters. It creates a convenient method to build roadmaps for work.
2021 Three Week Sprint Cycle - Sprint 5 = 1 week (Sprints start on Thursdays)
Agile Sprint cycles work the best when the team size and sprint duration stay as constant as possible over time. This allows for velocity calculations and predictions of work to be accomplished.
I have devised a simple technique, as shown below, to allow teams to work in a quarterly cadence.
For two week sprints, it means that teams can achieve six consistent and continuous sprints of a two week duration followed by one week in sprint 7. For three weeks, four three week sprints followed by one week in sprint 5.
I use the one week sprint (sprint 5/7) to do quarterly roadmap planning with my Business Analysts/Scrum Masters. The development and quality assurance teams can use the time for cleaning up technical debt and catching up. Obviously, you could reverse this and have sprint 1 be the one week planning sprint, it’s really whatever works for the team.
Note that 4 quarters at 90 days each = 360 days (not a perfect year time-frame). You can make up for the extra 5 days over the holidays (which is rarely productive time anyhow), which is typical in the United States.
Below are a couple of different configurations of the same concept, but using different starting days and durations.
2021 Three Week Sprint Cycle - Sprint 5 = 1 week (Sprints start on Mondays)
2021 Two Week Sprint Cycle - Sprint 7 = 1 week (Sprints start on Mondays)
See Program Increment for a similar technique using Scaled Agile.
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