We have a charter to build a product in 6 months. I'll preface this by saying that my manager wants us to use waterfall, even though our development process is agile.

With that said, I have been asked to create a 6 month project plan that outlines milestone dates and a list of tasks & dates to monitor project progress. I've never done a detailed project plan for more than 2 months in Agile, so I need everyone's help :)

My thoughts:

Approach 1: List out all the project tasks and use guesstimates on work effort per task and present a linear path to completion. This is obviously risky since our estimates can be completely off and risk the timeline. I suppose we can de-risk by doubling our estimate #s?

Approach 2: Group tasks into sprints, and follow an 'x' week sprint cadence. Each sprint will have a breakdown of all the tasks we have to do until we get to 6 months. Unfortunately this still suffers risk of missing the deadline if our estimates our off...



2 Answers 2


It doesn't matter how you organize the 6-month plan, if you are working in an agile way then it will inevitably be wrong.

The reasons for this are:

  • Agile is about responding to change and responding to feedback. Any plan that details 6-months ahead cannot anticipate the feedback that will be received.
  • All development projects include an element of discovery. This is typically a mixture of technical discovery and requirements discovery. Locking yourself into a 6-month plan ignores this.
  • Agile teams typically work on a backlog that is in priority order. It is very unusual for priorities not to change over a 6-month period.
  • Teams often struggle to estimate accurately for a two-week sprint, let alone for 6 months.

My advice would be to generate a roadmap rather than a plan and use vague references to timelines rather than specific days/weeks. Also, make it clear that the roadmap is subject to change based on the knowledge that will be gained as the project progresses.


Both approaches are far off being agile.

You can have a plan-driven big picture with an agile framework like Scrum for daily work. So you'll have a charter and a plan and baselines and a WBS with a dictionary. And when it comes to the activity-level, you are working with user stories. But again: this is not agile, this is plan-driven.

And an additional thought: in my eyes there's nothing wrong with choosing Waterfall as the weapon of choice when your project is in the lower left area of the Stacey matrix (and with a six months-schedule I asume it is).

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