Agile Business 101: 4 Levels of Planning

Filed Under Mindjet

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Andrew Lisa

by
February 20, 2014

According to BusinessDictionary.com, organizational agility is “the capability of a company to rapidly change or adapt in response to changes in the market,” and “a high degree of organizational agility can help a company to react successfully to the emergence of new competitors, the development of new industry-changing technologies, or sudden shifts in overall market conditions.”

The agile business strategy has been adopted by both small businesses and major corporations alike. Take Miracle-Ear, for example. Purveyors of the best-known brand of hearing aid in the world, the company has grown to more than 1,200 locations through the meticulous, focused philosophy of an agile business structure. The agile model has allowed Miracle-Ear to modify its core device to a wide range of different customers and clients.

This complex yet effective strategy of being agile requires both an energetic, motivated business administrator and a good degree of planning. Here are four different, yet necessary, basic levels of planning for an agile business model.

1. Planning for Product Release

In the release planning stage, assignments are given to individual groups, or teams, in anticipation of a product release. The teams must gather all the information they possibly can to generate a realistic yet expedient time frame for each release. The team’s releases are timed carefully to coincide with the moment when the benefits of release most outweigh the risk and cost. Release dates, which are usually linked to events such as yearly gatherings, are then determined.

2. Sprint Planning

Teams generally operate in prescribed time frames called “sprints,” and planning occurs prior to each new sprint. Teams usually work with customers, clients, or product managers to establish basic requirements and expectations prior to the sprint. At the end of the planning session, the team commits to a specific due date for creating a product demonstration. At this demonstration, the team displays its results to the product owner, who then determines whether or not any adjustments need to be made. Finally, a new sprint begins, and the team regroups to make the required changes.

3. Daily Planning

Most agile business teams have a brief daily meeting to coordinate and measure progress. This allows them to see an overview of the project’s progress while identifying immediate issues that must be addressed. Daily planning presents the project’s immediate, micro elements in a clear, digestible fashion.

4. Ongoing Planning

As the goals and guidelines of a project change, so must planning. Ongoing planning simply entails regular communication with team members so everyone on the team can work in concert with the others. Ongoing planning presents the long-term overview of the project to the team as they make adjustments to an ever-evolving framework.

The agile business theory is transforming the way businesses of all sizes look at the competing team business model. Agile business success depends on both short- and long-term planning that is meticulous and thorough, yet elastic enough to bend and evolve, as projects and requirements change.

Andrew Lisa is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. He writes about small-business administration and planning. Follow him on LinkedIn.

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