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The Art of Agile Development

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The Planning Game

Note

Whole Team

Our plans take advantage of both business and technology expertise.

You may know when and what to release, but how do you actually construct your release plan? That’s where the planning game comes in.

In economics, a game is something in which “players select actions and the payoffs depend on the actions of all players.”[33] The study of these games “deals with strategies for maximizing gains and minimizing losses... [and are] widely applied in the solution of various decision making problems.”[]

That describes the planning game perfectly. It’s a structured approach to creating the best possible plan given the information available.

The planning game is most notable for the way it maximizes the amount of information contributed to the plan. It is strikingly effective. Although it has limitations, if you work within them, I know of no better way to plan.

How to Play

XP assumes that customers have the most information about value: what best serves the organization. Programmers have the most information about costs: what it will take to implement and maintain those features. To be successful, the team needs to maximize value while minimizing costs. A successful plan needs to take into account information from both groups, as every decision to do something is also a decision not to do something else.

Accordingly, the planning game requires the participation of both customers and programmers. (Testers may assist, but they do not have an explicit role in the ...

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