Associated with the milestone plan will be a work packages schedule (see Figure 3), which defines a number of timeboxes within which, all the work associated with a given milestone, called its work package, will have to be executed for the plan to hold.

Within the constraints imposed by the hard milestones’ due dates and the dependencies identified in the plan, the work packages schedule will be decided by the team according to its technical, business and staffing strategies, such as we need to do this before that, do as much work as possible at the earliest, start slow to minimize risk and then aggressively ramp up, maintain a constant workforce, do not exceed six months, do not use more than five people, and so on. In constructing it, we will assume, the distribution of competencies in the plan matches the work’s needs. This is a sensible assumption in an agile context that assumes either generalists or balanced, cross-functional, teams. In cases where this assumption would not hold, it would be possible to break the resource dimension into competency lanes and assign the corresponding effort to each lane. The same approach could be used to scale up the method to be used in projects with multiple teams.

To execute the milestone plan, the project team progressively refines the elements of the work package into the tasks necessary to realize them within the time boxes established by the work packages schedule. The work to be taken on in a given iteration is thus dictated by the work packages schedule derived from the milestone plan the product owner helped to create and not by biweekly or monthly, sometimes whimsical, concerns. As work progresses, the plan is updated to reflect new circumstances arising from the work completed or from changes in the project context, but since milestones are basically states or goals to be attained, and the plan does not specify when tasks must begin, how long they should take, nor who should perform them, it tends to be pretty stable.

Figure 3. Work Packages Schedule. This represents one possible arrangement of work packages corresponding to the milestone plan in Figure 2. Each shaded area corresponds to the work associated with the milestone immediately to its right. The resource-time frame enclosing the work package is its time box. During iteration 1 and part of iteration 2, two members of the team will work on UX Design and the selection of infrastructure. From iteration 2 to 6, the team will mainly work on the items included in the first release; from iteration 7 to 9, the team will work on the features included in the second release and in Beta testing. Adapted from [7]


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