Planning is a Waste of Time?

Monday, June 30, 2008 – 5:00 AM

A couple of weeks back I spoke at the Seattle XP Users Group. The other speaker was Dr Neil who’s talk was a discussion around “Planning is a waste of time”. The were lots of interesting viewpoints, some of the ideas that came up during the discussion:

  • The longer you spend planning the more that’s vested in the plan making it less easy to throw away. For example really large projects have dedicated planners – people vested in the plan.
  • You need less planning on shorter iterations. If you force people to do less planning maybe this will lead to shorter iterations?
  • Planning and planning meetings are about relationship building with the customer. It’s a reason to have a conversation.

Having worked on some really large teams and projects (Visual Studio) I’m definitely not in the all planning is a waste of time camp. On smaller projects sometimes we have a natural tendency to plan when we’d be better off doing (or practicing as Dr Neil called it). It all goes back to the mentality of getting it right first time, rather than getting something that you can show the customer and have a conversation about.

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