Leadership and Lean | Agile Teams need to decide how frequent they want to do Big Room Planning. Deciding will depend on the number of teams, transaction costs, how often requests are coming from business stakeholders, number of anticipated releases, etc. Options may be:

  1. One Month
  2. One and a Half Months
  3. Two Months
  4. Two and a Half Months
  5. Three Months

Once the Program Portfolio decides on a frequency, they should stick to it unless a compelling reason comes up during the Program Retrospective – to influence them to change the cadence from the next interval onwards.

Once the frequency is established for the Big Room Planning, then the duration of the event must be decided. Deciding will depend again on number of teams, preparation work, how often Big Room Planning occurs, etc. Options may be:

  1. One Day
  2. One and a Half Days
  3. Two Days
  4. Two and a Half Days
  5. Three Days

With any of the above options, the agenda is still the same. It’s only the timebox for each agenda item is different. Below is a sample agenda for a Big Room Planning event:

The output from the Big Room Planning event are the following:

  • A committed Delivery Plan from each Lean | Agile Team.
  • Identification & Ownership of Inter-Team Dependencies.
  • Risk Categorization.

What is important here is that your Program Portfolio may have different types of Lean | Agile Teams. Some may be sprinting in Scrum, while others are iterating in Kanban and XP – no pun intended. Therefore, some teams may only have enough information to identify some work items, goals, and dependencies for each iteration/week in their delivery plan. This is acceptable as long as there is clear understanding with the Program Portfolio to what those goals are, and identification of the overall risks and dependencies.

There will be a lot of risks identified during Big Room Planning. It is important the Agile Program Manager reviews all the risks with everyone to help categorize it. By categorizing, we start to understand which risks needs to be carefully monitored and tracked to resolution, how much potential impact there is to the commitments being made, what risks we can tolerate, and who will take accountability to help resolve the issue.

In conclusion, it is important to end the Big Planning event with a Survey on how to improve. The survey should be short and anonymous  – not more than 5 questions. A sample survey would be:

  1. What went well?
  2. What didn’t go well?
  3. What can be improved?
  4. Would you recommend this event again?
  5. What value did you get from Big Room Planning?

If there is time, it is recommended to discuss the feedback from the surveys.