Agile Project Plan Template Samples Free Download : Excel and MS Project

Are you not sure if you need agile or waterfall project management methodology? Do projects at your company often come up short? Are you and your team constantly taking two steps forward only to take another back? 

If you’d love to overhaul your approach into something more efficient, agile project management is the solution. 
Below, we’re going to discuss what this method entails – step by step – and show you a project plan examples. 

Agile Project Plan Template Free Download
Agile Project Plan MS Project

Sprints: The Building Block of Any Agile Project Plan

  • There are many benefits of utilizing agile project management. However, the foundation of this method, the cornerstone that has made it so popular, is what we call “sprints.”
  • Sprints are simply regular, repeatable work cycles. They can be a week long; they can be 30 days long. 
  • They’re as long as any given work cycle needs to be. The important thing is that a sprint represents one part of a whole.
  • For example, let’s say you have a project that is going to take a year to complete. You’re going to have an incredibly hard time planning out that project. Most people have trouble seeing a few months into the future.
  • With agile project management, you would decide how long each iteration of the project should be – the sprint – and then just work on planning one or two sprints at a time.

  • This gives you far more freedom to, well, be agile with your approach. It also focuses your team’s attention on the most pressing matters.
  • The key with sprints is that you need to make them consistent in terms of time. Most agile project plan veterans would suggest you keep them to between a week and a month.
  • Pick whichever amount makes the most sense, but then keep it that way for the entirety of the project. This is how your team will find its rhythm; it’s also how you’ll be able to go back and learn how your staff works best; you have objective markers for tracking everyone’s output..
Agile Project Timeline
Agile Project Timeline

The Different Phases of Agile Project Management

The strength of using an agile project management approach is that is incredibly simple yet still produces amazing results. While you’ll definitely get better at it the more you use it, creating an agile project plan takes five simple steps:

Create the User Story
In the user story phase, you’re simply answering the question, “What does the user/customer want?” and doing so in the simplest way possible. Usually, the people with different roles in an agile project like customer , the product owner, SMEs and members from the agile development team are involved.

Story Estimation
With the story complete, it’s time to estimate the effort it will require in a session that should include the product owner and members of the development team. You can use “story points” to measure how much effort will be required to implement the project’s story.


Prioritize
Once you have a number of different stories for your team to choose from, you need to prioritize them. The whole team should be involved in this step and you can complete it by simply having everyone assign the choices with a point and seeing which one gets the most votes. The stories or items are documented in the product backlog.

Another method is called “MoSCoW” and stands for, “Must. Should. Could. Won’t.” With this method, each potential story is assigned one of these four descriptors, making it pretty clear by the end of your meeting which ones should take priority.


Release the Plan
In agile project management, a “release” is when the higher-ranked stories are ranked by priority. Again, you want the whole team involved so they can see what the product owner and stakeholders want and what kind of timeline they’re working with. 

These two groups can then transfer the release plan to the development team and get feedback about their expectations.

Sprint Planning
Now it’s time to create those sprints we talked about earlier. Typically the teams have a Sprint Planning Meeting to go over the production backlog items. The development team chooses one of the high-priority stories and divides it into multiple tasks and then assigns them out. This sprint planning process is repeated for every story until team capacity is reached.


Sprint Iteration
Finally, the project can begin with the initial sprint. Everyone has their job and the project manager tracks progress on a burn down chart. After the first iteration, the team comes together to give feedback. The first iteration is also usually presented to the client or a representative customer.

Agile Project Plan Excel Template
Agile Project Plan Excel Template
Final Thoughts
  • While this approach may be most associated with the software industry, you should now be able to see how an agile project plan can be leveraged elsewhere too.
  • With an agile project plan like this one in place, you have an objective roadmap to your final goal. More importantly, it’s almost impossible to leave anything to chance. 
  • This method brings together the entire team and submits every step of the plan to scrutiny so nothing is accepted without first making sure it actually makes sense.

  • If you want to increase your chances of success, refer back to the project plan example above and the earlier description. It won’t be long until this entire process becomes second nature and your rate of achievement skyrockets. 


Swapnil Wale

Written by

Swapnil Wale is an IT Professional based in Sydney, Australia with over 10 years of experience in technology and project management. He is a passionate blogger and focuses on project management and BRMS articles.

2 comments:

  1. Thanks, for making these templates available to all. Although a CSM, am only just moving fully into the agile ways of working in my new role and am in the process of building status reports for agile projects. Your templates therefore are a big help to get me going and greatly appreciated.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you very much for making this template.
    Thank you very much, seriously, I needed a template for the Software Quality class, you saved me.

    ReplyDelete

 

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