What tools do you use for your Agile planning?
In this area, “Index Cards” and “Post-It” sticky notes have long been and still are the most popular tools. They can be treated by hand and arranged spatially, and they boost conversation and collaboration of the planning meeting. We all love them!
Is your team distributed? if so, you may be using JIRA or other software tools called ITS(Issue Tracking System) to share information. And you may be using Skype or other communication software for real-time conversation for planning, sharing the JIRA page on the web. Good.
But… In the discussion, when you are breaking down the stories, fitting them into the next release or iteration, and signing up the tasks, all those sessions are cumbersome only in the JIRA screen. We need some more intuitive way to handle these planning sessions.
OK, now we have GreenHopper! With it, you can treat issues as cards and you can intuitively drag and drop like you handle the cards.
But we still miss something… more spatial freedom, more simple way to add tentative notes and etc.
So, I propose here, a new way of visualization of tasks, using mindmapping! For these two years, we have been using mind maps a lot for planning a release or iteration so that everyone in the team can share the overview of the plan.
And this is an example of mind map view. Here, in the middle, there is a version name, and around that, tasks are placed as branches radially. Mindmap has a tree-structure, so you can add subtasks under a task.
In the meeting, we have “members” branch, and you can drag and drop one of the members into the tasks as an assignee. We usually do this “mindmap planning” for each iteration, using Astah(our mindmapping tool) sharing via Mikogo(Screen share tool).
The points of this mindmap planning are;
- You can have a bird view of all the issues(or tasks) in the version(or iteration).
- You can move tasks around, add ones and change contents, freely in one view.
- You can add comments or notes as a temporal memo.
- You can drag and drop members as assignees to the tasks.
Technically, the structure of a mind map is so-called “semi-structured”, meaning “meta-data” are not explicitly defined. Virtually you can add anything to the map. That is just like a whiteboard which absorbs free contents in the session, and still keeping what happened in the discussion in a tree structure. Sometimes you can make a new branch for a category(or meta-data) from the contents you gathered on the spot.
We have found this technique so useful, so in this series of blog entries, I’m going to discuss more ideas around this mindmap planning.
By the way, is the term “mindmap planning” already there?
Now this Mindmap planning is effectively available with tool!
See the detail on “Atlassian JIRA Mindmap Planner for Astah“ – Added by SJ on 2012/06/19
3 thoughts on “Mindmap planning (1)”
Nice post. Have you tried user story mapping for agile planning? Its a great way to visualise the scope of the product and figure out how the plan fits in with the big picture. Check out some of Jeff Patton’s presentations on user story mapping. I recently did a presentation on this last weekend – http://www.slideshare.net/Siddhi/visualisation-for-agile-teams (jump over to slide 22)
I personally know Jeff well, and I’m also influenced by his user story mapping concept.
And I found your other tools are also very attractive !