Use the Theory of Constraints to Improve Your Planning Process

Can your team reliably estimate, plan and execute it's Sprints?  Or do they have problems creating Sprint Plans that make sense based on Story Estimates and the team's Velocity?  This is not an uncommon problem, and the consequences can be significant: lack of confidence in Estimates, no idea what the team's actual Velocity is, Sprint Plans that don't make sense and Product Owners and Customers who have little trust that the team is going to deliver on their Sprint Commitments.

The Theory of Constraints (ToC), a management philosophy first introduced by Eliyahu M. Goldratt in his 1984 book The Goal, can be used to make the relationships between the Agile planning practices much clearer and help to address many of the problems teams have with Estimates, Velocity and Sprint Planning.  The principles behind the ToC provide a straightforward framework that teams can apply to help make their planning process more understandable, reliable and predictable.

This presentation will start with a detailed background explanation of what the ToC is and how it relates to common Agile planning practices.  The principles of the ToC will then be applied to a sample Agile project to demonstrate the relationships between Estimates, Team Velocity and Sprint Planning.  From this attendees will gain insights that they will be able to use to improve their own planning practices with their teams.  Lastly, common challenges and solutions will be covered to give attendees a more complete understanding of how to address boundary cases and exceptions that they may encounter in their day-to-day planning activities.


Outline/Structure of the Talk

This presentation will comprise 4 main sections:

  1. What is the Theory of Constraints and how does it apply to Agile (10 min)
  2. Example of the Theory of Constraints applied to a sample project - Estimating through to Sprint Planning and Execution (20 min)
  3. Tips & Tricks - common problems and how to use the principles of Agile Estimating and Planning and the Theory of Constraints to address them (15 min)
  4. Q&A (15 min)

Learning Outcome

Attendees will walk away with a better understanding of:

- The Agile planning process

- How to effectively plan Sprints and deliver what the team commits to

- How to address common problems with Agile planning related to the relationship between Estimates, Velocity and Sprint Planning

- How Development, Business Analysis and Quality Assurance work relate to each other in terms of effort on an Agile team

Target Audience

Project Managers, Team Leads, Coaches

schedule Submitted 6 years ago