Components of Product Planning

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May 20, 2020

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15 mins

Getting ready or preparing is part of every activity. Preparation can be divided into mental preparation, several actions, getting ready for finances, etc. It depends on the nature of the work. Here in agile product development, we call this product planning. There are several stages and processes involved in getting ready to develop and deliver the right product. The core thing that drives the entire development to success is to identify the right elements of product planning. We call them the components of product planning. Let us understand what they are from an agile methodology perspective. 

What is Product planning?

The process of understanding the need of the customer and the end product they want, the product owner will have to make a plan. This will further be discussed with the team and the stakeholders to start the development work. Therefore, product planning is defined as the process of finding the need and aligning with the same to deliver results. Before this planning is done one has to collect the elements required to make this planning successful. We will analyze the different components of product planning in agile projects. 

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What are the components of product planning?

First things first, let us not begin with the budget as it is also one of the elements but not the only element. There are many other things required to make foolproof planning. 

1. Mission

The PO must understand the following three missions to start with. 

  • Who is the customer? 
  • What products do they require? 
  • What is the value system of the business? 

Every product development is done to fulfill the need of a customer. One needs to know who the customer is? What kind of product do they look for? What is the purpose for which the product is developed? Upon evaluating this it will become easy to move to the next element and this has to be the chief amongst all the components of product planning. Another important thing to be remembered is the mission of the business. Yes, what is the value system of the company? These three things must make the mission for every product development. 

2. Objectives 

Then comes the goal which is the destination to be reached at the end of all actions. This is the target to be accomplished. It can be long term and short term. Long term is the end product. The short term remains the result of the iterations. Every planning will be built on this basement called objective. The long term objective will also include the market value of the product developed. 

3. Policies 

Even though there is an understanding of the mission and a well-defined target, without knowing which policy will support the planning, the planning cannot be completed. Business policies will be applicable in concurrence with the policies of the customer company as well. In short, these are the limitations that must be known to make the right plan. Policies can be basic ones like mentioned as the company policy etc. Some specific policies include the security policy related to the product, the quality policies, and DevOps policies. 

4. Budget 

Yes, as already mentioned money plays a critical role and is one of the most important components in planning for developing a product. How much can the company afford for development? Whether the company can provide rooms for more team members to complete the entire development in the given time? Also, the fund allocated by the customer for the completion of the development and the time frame in which they can release the payment must be taken into account. The product manager must keep all these points in mind before product planning. 

5. Time Frame

Next comes the time available for the completion of the product. It depends on both the internal and external factors. Internal include top management decision and external refers to the schedule offered by the client to complete the work. Only based on this the PO can collectively discuss with the scrum master to decide on the sprint lengths and durations. 

6. Resources 

We may not call people as elements but they also become a key element in product planning. The availability of resources and their competency plays a vital role in allowing the PO to plan. Yes, the following are the conditions in which resource availability falls into. 

a) Strong resource but few in numbers 

b) Average resources and many are available 

c) New joiners but willing to learn and work hard 

Based on the above scenario PO must choose teams to plan for delivery. 

7. Innovation 

Last but the most important component of product planning is innovation. The client must explain what they need as a result. But the product manager must be capable enough to find ways to innovatively design them in a short time and in an economical way. This is not possible by just one person but the entire team and the top management must take part. It is because the team can give confidence in terms of performance and the business can confirm the time and budget allocation. Thus everyone should have a brainstorming session to decide on the innovative ways to make the product. 

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Importance of identifying the components of product planning 

How important it is to plan an activity before actually starting work, that much important is to understand the elements. Without knowing what the expectation is from the business and client it is not possible for making the right plan. 

Also, carrying out a SWOT analysis without the resources including money, time, and people, it is not possible to make correct planning. Thus every component we discussed contributes to the right product planning.

Need for the number of sprints, length of the meetings, agenda of the retrospective, etc can be decided only based on knowing the elements discussed above. Thus planning becomes successful only after collecting the elements and putting them in place. 

Hence a PO plays a key role in product planning and he must identify the components correctly to make a foolproof plan.

What next? 

Ok, now you know why components are required for product planning. Also, you are aware of what all elements you must collect for planning. The question you have in your mind is how to collect these components. That can be understood only with experience. If you wonder how to gain experience as a PO, then don’t worry, register for a Online Product Owner Certification with us and there you will get 2 full days to see many examples. You will get a chance for role plays and thus you will become a PO collecting components for product planning.

Take the first step today and you can master the art of product planning down the line. 

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