4 Steps to Planning Game in Extreme Programming
Extreme Programming is a popular Agile method of software development. It is aimed at providing the customer the final product within the shortest amount of time. XP has lots of tools to achieve this goal.
First of all, this methodology is focused on engineering solutions that allow making the working process more efficient. In XP there are no intermediaries between the team of developers and the customer. That allows to make the communication faster. However, such a type of communication and project realization requires serious planning.
In traditional methods of software development the process of planning does not involve the customer, but in XP such type of planning is impossible. Hence, XP developers had to invent a planning method that would combine the efficiency of traditional project planning with the specific features of the methodology relied to the customer’s involvement into the working process. When such a method of planning was invented it was called the Planning Game.
Planning Game in Extreme Programming
Before describing the main features of this method, let’s find the definition for XP Planning Game.
Most generally it can be defined as a specific type of planning activities organization. It requires a strong involvement of the customer into the planning process. The main idea of this method is to share planning responsibilities between the team and the client. It is based on a simple principle: the customers usually have all the information about the value of projects, and the teams know all about their cost.
Extreme Programming Planning Game is based on the exchange of this information. In the process of planning the customer must provide all the necessary information on the project’s value. Usually, it is provided in short user stories that are prioritized by the client. The main goal of the team of developers in the process of planning is to estimate these stories according to time and financial criteria. A strict and defined plan is the main result of Planning Game in all XP projects.
XP planning game is usually a sequential process. It has several steps that are obliged to make it successful. However, we should not forget that XP is an Agile methodology. It means that there are no strict instructions, so every team may invent its own scheme of Planning Game. Usually, most of them look as following.
Step 1: Creation or selection of the story
At this stage, the customer must create certain user story or select it from his list. Such stories will be analyzed and prioritized during the Planning Game. They will formulate the basis of the future project’s plan.
Step 2: Story estimation
This stage of the Planning Game is conducted by the team of developers. They must estimate the story in accordance with the criteria of time and costs required for its realization.
Step 3: Prioritization of stories
This is the beginning of the project’s plan. At this stage of the Planning Game, the customer places the estimated user story into the plan. All stories are prioritized in accordance with his requirements to the final product.
Step 4: The process is repeated
After one story is estimated and prioritized in the project’s plan the process is repeated until the plan is completed.
As you can see, Planning Game is a simple method that allows you to create the plan of project realization. However, it may have some problems. Usually, they appear when the customer does not understand why the realization of a certain task requires so much time or costs. Such questions must also be discussed during the Planning Game. The team must explain the customer all the necessary expenses.