Agile – Rolling Wave Planning

An Agile project it ensures that the process of planning is being conducted in waves, as the project requirements become clearer and the project complexities unfold. Agile by its very nature is adaptive and allows for adaptive planning without having to know the specific requirements of the entire project up front because these requirements and the priority of these requirements is ever-changing on an Agile project. 

High-level plans are created for the distant horizon,  greater than 6 months  at the business case level and establishing Epics

The medium-level plans are created for the medium horizon (~3-6 months) at the release level, operating at the program or program increment level, developing features  

 At the lower level detailed plans are created for the near-horizon, which includes the next 2-3 iterations. To develop user stories, acceptance criteria, and supporting materials like , customer journey maps data flow. Although many of these theses supporting artifact and should be developed at the feature levels 

On Agile projects, the level of requirements decomposition and the amount of time and effort spent creating more detailed estimates for these requirements will be dependent on the customer’s view of the importance and current value of the requirements at any given time during the project.


Rolling wave planning  for a solution or project team is a cascading plan. The basic premise is that the longer execution time  the greater the chance that it will change during that time. Therefore, any investment in thinking through the details is likely wasted. However, you still  want to plan at a high level to  guide your current decisions,  set people’s expectations with guide rails .


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