Published on September 08, 2015
Whether it be service or product industry, whether it be any domain, whether it be any sizing, whether it be any execution methodology you have adopted – defining an accurate roadmap will help you achieving and improving your results at a remarkable scale. A planning capacity can be measuring by the effectiveness of efforts, quality, scalability, margin and user acceptance rate and roadmap definition will help you achieving all these with loving measures!
Based on my industry experience so far, I have noted down certain areas that should be considered for defining a value adding Roadmap for Project Execution.
Carpenter’s law ‘Measure twice and cut once’ is simple, strong and sustainable here.
First of all, understand what you need to define. Make sure your efforts are into right direction and don’t over complicate the things.
Here are the key identifiers in this category.
- Identify requirements – know precisely what you want to achieve
- DOD (Definition of Done)
- For writing user stories / requirement and acceptance criteria
- For validations
- Code-complete expectations
- Unit testing scope
- For various testing scopes – Smoke, Integration, Performance, Security or as applicable as per your defined scope
- And derive more and precise DOD areas based on your project scope and the level of complexity
- Mold requirements into features
- Tools and Technology
- Core technology / Framework / Tools – not only development and QA but tools covering UI/UX, Project Management and all applicable areas.
- Development environment
- Coding guidelines and review mechanism
- QA requirement and scope
- Staging and Production environment specifications
- Development and QA specific dependencies
- Team, Titles and R&R
- Team Hierarchy
- The Actual Team
- Training needs
- Risk Register
- Risk and Issues
- Mitigation plan
- Determine timeframes for deliverables of shippable products / Sprint size depending on your project delivery model
- Determine high level timeline for major release(s) or phase(s)
- Milestones / Deliverables
Define Milestones at high level with features to be considered in each milestone
Though planning vs. coding ratio formulation is not a single number and it varies a lot depending on the size, complexity, scope clarity, team’s efficiency and other factors, the standard numbers says that it would be 3 to 5 times your coding estimates. The simplest thing to understand is ‘Invest your time in planning!’
Even if the scope is large or more complex or you completely want to be Agile, don’t worry. I know Agile is a trend now and we love to go with the trend! But make sure that in any case, your planning as per 80-20 rule is in place.
You should plan the following:
- Project execution methodology you want to adopt
- High level execution plan
- Automate repetitive things. Technology has the solution!
- Product Backlog Items
- Sprint planning with WBS in place
- Risk and Mitigation plan
- Reviews – Scope, Code, QA, Release
- Meeting schedules with stakeholders
- Some buffer based on team size, technical complexities and dependencies
- A few celebrations 🙂
As you are really accountable about the project you are managing, don’t forget to track below stuffs at a defined regular time interval. If your project tight timelines don’t allow you to create sexy graphical reports and analytical summaries, that’s fine; ensure that the correct purpose is achieved and the data is in presentable quantifying format! Also no need to everyday share analysis. Keeping yourself and key stakeholders up to date and having the plan based on your tracking will help you driving the things smoothly.
- Sprint / Milestone Progress
- Team efficiency
- Good things
- Improvement areas
- Lessons learnt
Definition, Planning and Tracking help in forecasting in right manner. Forecast the following:
- Velocity or equivalent based on the model you are following
- Detailed task and completion plan for next week, next sprint / immediately interim release
- Time required on quality improvements based on current time investments in QA and stabilisation
- Yourself! And rest will be less complex!!
- Stakeholders valid expectations
Just like an unplanned road trip is not always as enjoyable as a planned one; journey of project execution life cycle is also equally important to be planned! To be planned correctly, to be planned detailed, to be planned with simplicity, to be planned with accuracy and to be planned with an agreement! Avoid risks of missing out lovely destinations and avoid risks of losing fun loving targets! Enjoy the journey and the destination both! Make it a win-win for everyone!