When to use this – when you need a project planning process for a few team members, want to avoid heavyweight processes, want to optimize for engineers and simplicity, no special tools required, plain text
Assumption – single engineering team, that works with other teams, PM, etc.
What – List of bullet points : Week-by-week tasks and milestones
Add weeks, in correct sequence, for company processes like arch review, op review, deploy process, staging process, integration testing, sandbox for customer success and sales engineer, etc.
Parallelize, if possible, by assigning tasks in each focus area in each week to multiple people; don’t overlap
Discuss extensively in team meetings, esp. architecture, scalability, performance, maintainability, etc.
Output – all engineers in the team have clear idea of what is the work in a project, esp. PRD is clarified.
Ideal – engineers can work autonomously during dev phase, no surprises or delays during dev phase (exceptions should be exceptional – whether customer issues or on-call), no “rush” phases, no weekend work, with room for experimentation, easy to track progress, easy to spot if someone is stuck, easy to gauge if we underestimated effort or did not foresee something – this will be good knowledge for future projects
This applies to all types of projects – feature work, tech debt work, craftsmanship work, etc.
Manager and/or tech lead involved heavily in this phase
DRI (directly responsible individual) who will actually work on the project is responsible for taking this list, putting it on a wiki page / task page, sharing link with the team, updating it constantly, and quickly raise any issues that are blocking or delaying the week-by-week plan
Ideal – engineers can work autonomously during this phase, i.e. manager or tech lead involved lightly in this phase
Manager is responsible for minimizing distractions
Use checkboxes to indicate completed weeks
Add new weeks for internal delays or unforeseen tasks – mark new week title in italics
Weekly team meetings are discussing updates w.r.t. this plan, demoing milestones, discussing ideas and concerns.
Unforeseen delays are okay, add to the bullet points list between the task-weeks it happened – useful in retrospective; immediately, discuss with manager or tech lead; they will, in turn, inform stakeholders