Panasonic Youth

Project roadmaps == a waste of time

The always thought provoking (if controversial) 37 Signals had a post that resonated with me today on project roadmaps being too constraining. So often I’ve seen the long term goals fall by the wayside as requirements shift and everyone realizes what made sense six months ago just doesn’t make sense anymore. Or you are three months in on a six month plan and checking “requirements” off in the project plan that don’t even make sense anymore. This seems like it should come right out of one of the XP Explained books:

Instead of the roadmap, just look out a few weeks at a time. Work on the next most important thing. What’s the point of a long list when you can’t work on everything at once anyway? Finish what’s important now and then figure out what’s important next. One step at a time.

It sounds similiar to the planning game and just having your users tell you what stories have priority for each iteration. Of course, Jason isn’t advocating turning off your brain and just flailing wildly in the dark. Some things require more planning then others, and sometimes you need the long-term goals. Just be aware of the situations where time would be better spent on the next task rather then detailing a quarter by quarter plan.