Friday, May 26, 2006

"Plan of Intent" and "Plan of Record"

Ron Lichty is well known in the Software Engineering community on the West Coast as a practitioner, as a seasoned project manager of many successful ventures and in a number of SIGs and conferences in which he is active. In spite of knowing Ron by correspondence over a long period of time it was only at JavaOne this year that we finally got together and I'm very glad we did.

Ron wrote to me after our meeting:

I told a number of people later at JavaOne, and even later that evening at the Software Engineering Management SIG, about xProcess. It really looks good. A question came up: It's a common technique in large organizations to keep a "Plan of Intent" and a "Plan of Record" - to have two project plans, one for the business partners and boss, one you actually execute to. Any support for that in xProcess?

Good question! Here's my reply...

There is support in xProcess for an arbitrary number of target levels through what we call (in the process definitions) Planning Boundaries (PBs). The patterns containing PBs can be called what you like in the process definition - typically timeboxes, milestones, releases, "sprints", commitments, etc. PBs consist of a "scope" (a set of tasks) and a target date. So your "plan of record" could be contained in a set of PBs showing your commitments to one or more parties and the status of the PBs would be different from the team target status even though it is derived from the same project forecasts. It's a useful technique and one we recommend to xProcess users.

By the way Ron has just completed a cross-country ski marathon in Anchorage, Alaska benefiting the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. If you enjoy photos, maps, and stories of such adventures, see this site Also check out Ron's blog at
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