Wednesday, 24 September 2014

The ART of the All-Hands Release Planning Meeting

“100 people in a planning meeting sounds like a contradiction in terms.”  Not exactly the supportive sentiment I was hoping to get from my parents. It was the weekend before the big event and I was trying to explain what we were attempting to my parents over dinner. Having freshly returned from +Jean Tabaka's Scaling Agile Collaboration Workshop at +RallyON, I was VERY focused on planning for the big day. Jean had said you should allow 2 hours of preparation for every hour of workshop and up to 5 times this for large planning meetings. Did she mean me personally as the facilitator or everyone involved? Had we done enough? Had I done enough? All was about to be revealed.

It was not the best start to the day as I rocked up 15 minutes late to my 7am pre meeting with the Release Train Engineer (RTE) to find her still working on slides for the morning session. (Not that I could judge, as I quickly dropped a handful of planning instruction slides into the back of the presentation.) Last minute changes were still arriving by text message from the CIO, including a change to the run order. “No!” said a loud voice in my head. The day hasn’t even started and my run sheet is already redundant.  Well, I guess that could be seen as a slight overreaction, but I was 0-2 at this point and I was starting to get concerned.