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The Rabbit Hole: The Definitive Developer's Podcast

Apr 4, 2017

In this episode, we’ll talk all about planning meetings. (And let’s be clear here: we mean planning-meetings as an entity; we aren’t talking about how to plan a meeting.)

We discuss how having successful planning meetings will help you and your team move forward more efficiently. Ultimately, these meetings can help you and your team become even more awesome agile developers.

When they’re done right, planning meetings can ensure that the team pushes out as many features as possible, which keeps the business happy. The way they achieve this is by getting the people who know the business value in the same room as the people who know how costly it is to implement.

Unfortunately, there can be a lot of confusion surrounding planning meetings, especially when it comes to units of measurement that can be understood (and not misunderstood) by everyone in the meeting. There’s a great solution: using games as units of measurement!

Listen in to hear more tips, advice, and thoughts on planning meetings!


In This Episode:

[00:45] - We have a teach-and-learn moment about a talk by Martin Fowler and the importance of learning new languages.

[02:29] - Today’s main topic is sprint planning. We hear a definition of what this is.

[04:22] - We learn the main goal of a sprint planning meeting. It’s to have an intersection between the business knowledge of what’s important and the programming knowledge of how much work it will take to do that.

[06:05] - We hear more about estimations and ways of doing them. We learn why many options are problematic, and why using games as units of measurement eliminate some of these problems.

[09:27] - Does anyone on the panel have examples of things that have gone wrong in estimation or planning?

[12:55] - Does the complexity change based on your personal expertise and what you bring to the table, or is the complexity measured more objectively? The panelists share their thoughts and recommendations, which include pairing with people who have different areas and levels of expertise.

[17:37] - The panelists talk about prioritization.

[20:58] - We hear more about grooming, and when it should happen.

[22:11] - How long does a planning meeting normally last? The consensus is around an hour, because going longer can lead to reduced concentration or indicate inadequate grooming.

[24:08] - The panelists talk about some other things that can help planning meetings go well. We hear about the “as/when/then” structure.

[28:14] - A successful technique involves having a table in the middle of the room and having the team go through a silent exercise of moving the stories into different boxes based on difficulty.

[31:04] - We move on to picks. We hear about pivotal/vim-config, and why one of the panelists recommends it.

[32:32] - Another of the panelists will be looking into React Native over the next couple of weeks.

[33:29] - A couple tools one of the panelists has been using over the past week include a tool from Django Extensions and a command line tool, the Silver Searcher.

[35:04] - A couple more picks include git-pair and an app called Signal (available for Android and iOS).


Links and Resources:

Stride Consulting

Rabbit Hole on Twitter

Martin Fowler


React Native

Django Extensions

Silver Searcher