Project Management

The Agile Dating Game

Bart has been in ecommerce for over 20 years, and can't imagine a better job to have. He is interested in all things agile, or anything new to learn.

The more rigid an organization is about dates, the less agile it can be. Still, it is legitimate for executives to ask for delivery dates, and there are strategies to meet this need, from time-boxed releases to work-forward planning. Yes, executive visibility is possible in Agile, it just takes some compromise and participation.

It is easy for an executive in an Agile organization to feel out of control or sense a lack of transparency, especially when it comes to delivery dates. Certainly, the executive can view the team’s sprint board, burndown chart, and even attend sprint planning, but this doesn’t get her the information that she is truly seeking: “When can I call this product shipped?” As much as the team might push back, and say “Agile doesn’t work that way,” there are strategies that do work to determine “delivery dates” for products, features and functionality.

It’s not unreasonable for the executive to ask for a date, and the development team isn’t all wrong by not providing one, but the two do need to agree to meet in the middle. Here are a few methods that teams use to solve this impasse.

Time-boxed Releases

This is probably the most prevalent strategy, creating a release calendar ahead of time, and sticking to it. This usually means releases every month or every quarter, or some fixed …


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"He who asks is a fool for five minutes, but he who does not ask remains a fool forever."

- Chinese Proverb

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