The rigid planning of the waterfall model leaves no room for agile working, the well-known Scrum sprints are not scalable or difficult to monitor and coordinate. FAST is a scalable, agile framework that combines agility and reliable planning for even the largest transformation projects. How does that work? With the help of a driving beat on different levels.
The basic idea: Agile value creation with maximum planning reliability
Scrum teams can create tremendous value and customer benefits - for example, in typical two-week sprints - because they work in a goal-oriented manner, without distractions and with few dependencies. However, when large projects involve multiple teams, comprehensive planning is required. Otherwise, teams will work side by side in an uncoordinated fashion: A missed deadline in one workgroup causes gridlock in another, and a lack of commitment causes the big picture to fragment.
FAST, the Framework for Agile Scaled Teamstherefore works with several planning levels that are synchronized with each other - from the large overarching planning of the entire project to the shortest sprint in the smallest team. This coordination is made possible by the rhythm, which provides a common beat as a driving beat. This means that the agile way of working can scale almost indefinitely.
Which bar levels does FAST work with?
With FAST, you can manage small projects as well as large transformation programs involving multiple service providers, business units, and departments. The secret of success lies in the different bar levels that keep all the individual units in harmony.
The smallest unit: the sprints
Sprints are an essential part of agile project management: A team works for a fixed period of time focused on a clearly defined task. The exact time frame is given by a timebox which, for example, also takes into account the time for preparatory planning (Sprint Planning) and the subsequent evaluation (Sprint Review). With a clearly defined duration and task description, sprints are manageable and add value.
The benefits of sprints:
- Complex tasks are greatly simplified.
- No new tasks are added as you work, so you stay focused.
- The strict time frame ensures that deadlines are met and milestones are reached.
The heart of the rhythm: FAST Season Planning
Like containers on a cargo ship, sprints or other work processes can now be lined up within timeboxes and coordinated in parallel to fit perfectly into an overarching structure. This overarching structure - the heart of the FAST rhythm - is Season PlanningSeasonal planning provides a fixed quarterly rhythm: Projects, programs, teams, goals, and results are synchronized on a regular basis, making them easier to manage.
Synchronization even then, if the beat underneath is different.
The advantages of Season Planning:
- Alignment: All timeboxes are exactly aligned with each other. Once a quarter, everything comes together so that there is an overarching alignment.
- Value creation: Season Planning leaves all the freedoms of agile project management open, so that work can be done within the secure framework of the timeboxes in a value-creating manner and with great customer benefit.
- Transparency: All participants know where the others stand at the moment and when they can expect which additional work. Delays due to dependencies are eliminated.
- Commitment: The fixed quarterly deadlines ensure that the overarching planning remains in place, even if individual teams are concentrated on their own tasks. This commitment - the major weakness of other agile methods - creates a high degree of planning certainty.
- Connection: Whether strategic business goals or operational implementation, whether internal or external project participants - Season Planning is the interface between all parts and connects them firmly to one big whole.
For the big vision: the transformation roadmap
The overarching roadmap also contributes to FAST's scalability. This can be used for long-term planning over two to five years, called an epoch, or for individual annual planning. Similar to the waterfall model approach, it includes clear goals and budgets to help manage and ensure reliable implementation.
The benefits of the transformation roadmap:
- By setting clear goals, the roadmap provides guidance to all levels below.
- It works with rough guidelines, leaving enough room for agile adjustments.
- It provides a secure framework within which all the benefits of agile can be realized.
The big picture: the FAST planning matrix
The focused value creation of the individual value streams value streams on the one hand, and the reliable, clocking rhythm on the other hand, together result in the central tool of the FAST method: the FAST planning matrix.It provides a bird's-eye view of the entire project with all the key objectives and parameters, such as
- Budget and budget consumption,
- Target and actual expenses and
- Target definition and target achievement.
Thanks to the planning matrix, agile project management with FAST is highly scalable: It enables efficient controlling and accurate progress measurement, even with multiple departments, suppliers, and service providers.
Agile Projects - 100% reliable?
With our agile project framework FAST, we make agile digitization projects and transformation programs plannable and manageable.