When you have delivery teams dispersed across different locations, planning can get messy. Luckily, collaborative planning in one big room has proven to be an effective remedy to this situation. In fact, here at Rally Software, we’ve been doing Big Room Planning since our inception. Here are three reasons why you should, too.

When you plan together, you reach your goals faster

Our Agile advisors have estimated that in order to produce a mid-range plan for a delivery group, it takes 20,000+ informed decisions. The reality is, when you have everyone in the same room, you can make those decisions and deal with any dependencies quickly. At the end of planning, your path forward may only be mostly-right, but that’s why you put mechanisms in place to adjust along the way.

What’s even better is that can form a sound plan in just two days. And when you get really good at it – you can get it done in a day. Compare that to planning cycles that take weeks or even months when you’re using email, chat, and a never-ending exchange of spreadsheets.

Big Room Planning at Rally Software
Planning together results in better plans.

When the people who do the work are included, you get better plans

Traditionally, plans were created by managers. While managers may think that they have great experience, being removed from the work means that their experience is no longer current. The only experts at the detail are the people who do the work every day. What managers bring to the table is context, which is why you need them in the room, too.

By including both parties in the planning process, you significantly mitigate risk right from the start. All of the implementation questions are easily resolved simply by getting out of your chair and speaking with the people who have experience in that area. Further, the diversity of viewpoints means that you’ll consider angles that you might have missed.

Rally Software team during Big Room Planning event.
At Rally, we even invite customers to observe our processes.

When you plan together, you get happier people

Bringing together the entire delivery group transforms an email signature and voice on the phone into a living, breathing person. This is someone you’re far more likely to help and support when things get tough. It also helps build the culture of your organization.

Another outcome is commitment. You can’t commit on behalf of someone else. When the people who are doing the work also plan it, the result is not only a plan, but a team of teams who believe in that plan and are deeply committed to delivering on it.

Rally Software Big Room Planning

It may sound crazy, but put everyone in a room for a day or two, and the result is a sound plan. Trust us – it works – time and time again.

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