Planning in Polychor is a continuous cycle of defining features, translating them into products, defining activities that are needed to create the products, delivering the products and confirming that required features have been delivered.

Polychor Planning is about identifying the steps required and visualizing progress using Kanban techniques. Every step in the planning process must have a buffer of outstanding work. Buffers should only be depleted at the end of the assignment.

Feature backlogs

The process starts by defining the first features or ideas. Senior management is encouraged to define their requirements as features and are encouraged to come up with new features on a continuous basis. Features are buffered and are placed on the Feature Backlog as potential features that could be executed. The Steering Board approves features that they want their environment to work on. These features are presented to the Manager in the ‘Management Backlog with Features’. Approved features are moved to the Completed Features section when the features have been realized using feedback from the Management Backlog.

Management backlogs        

The Manager and the Steering Board translate features into products to be created. These products are buffered and are placed on the Management Backlog as Draft Products. These products have not been defined in sufficient details yet. The Manager and the Steering Board groom selected products to a sufficient level of detail that they can be given to the Development Team. These products are moved to the  Approved Products section of the Management Backlog. Once the Development Team has informed the Manager that the product is in progress the Manager moves the product to the Products In Progress section of the Management Backlog. Once the product has been completed by the Development Team the Development Team informs the Manager about completion and the Manager moves the product to the Completed Products section of the Management Backlog.

Development backlogs

The Manager and the Development Team go through the Approved Products and plan the creation of these products during the first part of the Management Planning Meeting. This part of the planning meeting is about ‘what’ is to be created. The products are now placed on the Product In Progress section of the Development Backlog.

The second part of the planning meeting is about defining activities that are necessary to create the products. This is defined by the Development Team during the ‘how’ part of the planning meeting. If required the Manager is involved in this part of the planning meeting, but this is not always needed.

After defining how the products are to be created the Development Team places the activities on their ‘Development Backlog with Tasks’. It is good practice that Development Team members synchronize their work on a daily bases. This is called the ‘Daily Sync Meeting’. This meeting should be kept short and is not about solving problems. During this meeting the Development Team members briefly explain what they have done the previous day, what they want to do today and any problems they have in completing their assignments. The Development Team reports on their progress on a frequent basis to the Manager. When a product is ready the Development Team gives the product back to the Manager. When an entire assignment is ready, consisting of one or more products, the entire solution is given back to the Manager. This is called the ‘Deployable Solution’.

At the end of a release or tranche the Development Team and the Manager review all deployable solutions before the complete solution is given back to the Steering Board. This is also the time where the Development Team and the Manager carry out a ‘Development Retrospective’ and a ‘Development Review’.

During the Development Review the solution is reviewed to check its ‘fit for purpose’ status. During the Development Retrospective the Manager and the Development Team review what went well, what should be done different in the next phase or tranche, and what the Development Team should not do anymore.