Agile Book Club: Visual Planning (with Jeff Patton and Gojko Adzic)

All too often, people think of their plans as simple lists of features—a “to-do” list for their product. But a great plan can be so much more. It can be a visual representation of the possibilities available to you. A roadmap that allows you to choose some paths to follow and others to leave behind. In this session, we’re joined by two pioneers of visual planning: Jeff Patton and Gojko Adzic.

📖 Visual Planning

Jeff Patton is founder and principal of Jeff Patton & Associates. He’s best known as the author of the bestselling O‘Reilly book User Story Mapping, which describes a simple, holistic approach to using stories in Agile development without losing sight of the big picture. Jeff is deeply involved in teaching and speaking in the Agile, User Experience, and Product Management communities.

Gojko Adzic is a partner at Neuri Consulting LLP. His book, Specification by Example, won the Jolt Award for the best book of 2012. Another of his books, Impact Mapping, introduced the world to impact mapping, one of the visual planning techniques included in The Art of Agile Development. Gojko is a frequent speaker at software development conferences and one of the authors of MindMup and Narakeet.

🎙 Discussion prompts:

  • Visual planning techniques are a way of visualizing your options rather than presenting a simple to-do list. What are the benefits of taking a visual approach to planning? What are you giving up in exchange?

  • How have you seen stakeholders react, either positively or negatively, to visual planning? What’s needed for them to be supportive of it?

  • What skills do teams need in order to get the most out of visual planning? What are some good ways they can develop those skills?

  • One of the hallmarks of Agile teams is that they customize techniques to their specific situation. How have you seen visual planning ideas customized or reimagined?

About the Book Club

From October 2021 to August 2022, I hosted a call-in talk show based on the second edition of The Art of Agile Development. The series used the book as a jumping-off point for wide-ranging discussions about Agile ideas and practices, and had a star-studded guest list.

For an archive of past sessions, visit the book club index. For more about the book, visit the Art of Agile Development home page.

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