CHOW #85- Planning with a not so clear backlog

Amit is a lead for a team. His team has a clear charter to improve the quality of client engagement information available to their sales team. Towards this, the team is working with analytics and the latest in software – machine learning.

The team is following Agile and does quarterly planning; and here-in lies their challenge. Earlier, quarterly planning used to be figuring out how much the team feels they can do. They knew what they were buildin in a reasonable way

In this current charter, the team does not know what they are going to do – they have an approach and clarity on outcomes, but do not know what will be their deliverable at the end of next three months. Several team members feel, given that they are also exploring what can be done, they can not commit to a deliverable or its timeline.

How do you think this team must approach their planning process?

Suggested Solution:

When a product build has clarity on expected outcomes, but not on the actual approach; the entire build can be initially run as a series of experiments that filter out less viable options.
The team can then focus on jotting down what they intend to validate and learn from each experiment (hypotheses + observation) and plan for a timeline to learn and pivot as needed. The release planning will then be a series of time-boxed experiments that lead to one or more feature build outs.

What do you think?

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