Unlike traditionally run projects which are planned by an “expert,” Agile planning should be done with the entire team participating. Agile encourages group participation in all forms of planning and estimation. Instead of one person following a linear process of assessing requirements and project constraints, then producing a plan designed to drive schedule, budget, and resources to deliver the end project, the whole team is engaged.
Including the entire team in the Agile process ensures communication between team members , and more importantly, with users of the software they are building. Here collaboration is key, because over-reliance on documents as the primary communication vehicle leaves a great deal of information lost in translation. The most effective way for the team to truly understand expectations is to work together to understand the problem, then form a resulting plan. Team planning sessions focus on communication and collaboration, and this added communication leads to a much better plan. Team members have the opportunity to jointly understand each requirement they are asked to build. They then work together determine the amount and kind of work required to deliver the requirement to a customer.
More importantly, when the team plans together they can take into account the realities of their shared experiences. Agile promotes the tenet that the people doing the work should be the ones producing the plans as they have the best knowledge about how the work will get done. After a collaborative planning session, each team member is completely aligned with the problem they are trying to solve and the shared approach to the solution.