Visual Planning


Product Managers, Customers

We have a map for achieving our purpose.

Your plan is the key to achieving your team’s purpose. Rather than saying “do this, then this, then that,” create a plan that allows you to visualize your choices and adapt your plans as you go. Visual planning is how you do so.

The possibilities for visual planning are endless. Here, I discuss four techniques. You can follow one of these techniques as written, mix and match between them, or create new visualizations that are wholly your own. The right visualization is the one that works for your team and its stakeholders.

Who Plans?

Visual planning is led by team members with product management skills, with the assistance of the team’s other on-site customers. Do your best to include key stakeholders, too, at least for high-level planning, and look for opportunities to include real customers. Their perspectives will improve the quality of your plans.

Developers can be heavily involved, or not, as your team sees fit. Some developers prefer not to attend yet another meeting—and, in truth, their time may be better spent elsewhere. On the other hand, developers’ work will benefit from an in-depth understanding of the plan, and their perspective often leads to better plans. I tend to leave it up to each individual developer to decide.

Even if developers don’t attend, they still need to understand the plan and provide feedback. Be sure to set aside time to discuss the plan with developers. ...

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