Quarterly Alignment at FRIDAY

Those of you who worked in companies practising various agile ways of working might have heard of recurring planning events, where everyone is coming together to coordinate work for next few months. Naming could vary from framework to framework or company to company, but the most common are: Big Room Planning or PI Planning, at FRIDAY we call it Quarterly Alignment, since we meet every 3 months to plan next quarter.

Why FRIDAY decided to do Quarterly Alignment?

Shared understanding of priorities

For 2-3 days, teams work on their roadmaps for next 3 months. Work is visualized, company goals are crafted into Initiatives, Epics and even granular User Stories. Later all the work is prioritized, so that it’s clear what teams will focus on first and what comes next.

Dependencies spotted in advance

Even though our Product Owners write User Stories using INVEST method, there always are dependencies on larger working items level like initiative or epic.

Teams collaborate with each other, cross team collaboration flourishes, every team who spots a touchpoint or dependency with another team, discusses topics and exchanges questions & answers to deepen mutual understanding of each other's work.

Work planned with others in mind

Thanks to cross-team collaboration, teams can plan their iterations having other teams' plans in mind. This allows developers to see what’s coming, and when items on their backlogs should be ready for other teams to start with their dependent work.

Risks anticipated

Because each team creates their roadmap in a transparent way, each team can anticipate risks for their own and other teams backlog items. When risks are spotted & raised, some teams also do confidence voting, to check how confident & sure they feel about different work items. This helps to shift from wishful thinking into reality and as a result raises authenticity of the planned 3 month Roadmap.

Planned work of all teams transparent

It’s essential to have one source of truth, one wall or board where all teams create their Roadmaps transparently. This place should be shared with the whole company and easily accessible by anyone interested. What you get then is clarity of who plans what. After all, even the best, detailed Roadmap is useless if you can’t quickly find it when needed.

All remote

Most of us are used to doing it in one big conference room, with a huge empty wall and loads of post-it notes. The challenge starts when you want to do such planning remotely. Luckily most of us have been working remotely through most of 2020, so we all had some time to become remote tools pros. Tools that are coming handy in Quarterly Planning are i.e. digital whiteboards like MIRO, MURAL, Metro Retro, project management tools like JIRA with Roadmap plugins, communication tools like Slack, google hangouts, shared company calendar like Google Calendar, shared slides like Google Slides among many more.

Summary

Most important factor, above great preparation & tools, are people that come together co-located or remotely, collaborating together openly, to plan their work for next 3 months, working to be best in what they do, which is to ship best code possible, frequently. In our case that eventually brings us to FRIDAY main purpose, which is to create the first insurance experience customers love.

Bei FRIDAY arbeiten Entwickler, Coder, UX-Designer und Scrum Master zusammen mit Aktuaren und Schadensexperten. Wir investieren Zeit und Energie, um FRIDAY gemeinsam nach vorn zu bringen. Dabei lassen wir uns aber nie die Chance entgehen, unsere Erfolge laut zu feiern.

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