Agile Wedding Planning
Making the planning easy
As a scrum master and product owner, project planning and management is a big part of my job. Working closely with the development team to manage clients, deadlines and resources is key to delivering successful projects and creating happy clients.
Along with work I am also currently planning my wedding. Weddings are festive occasions, offering great music, gorgeous flowers, and fantastic photograph opportunities to boot.
But there is another side of weddings; the planning. Trying to bring together the venue, church and catering is hard enough but add to that a guest list to organise, suits and all the decorations, creating that perfect wedding is not the easiest of tasks.
Wedding planning is not that dissimilar to software development planning. You have a budget and a delivery date (the big day) and a priority of tasks; the magician and white doves you can probably do without, but the dress is a must.
This is where I have turned to my digital project management experience, and a tool designed for managing software development projects and iterative developments, StoriesOnBoard. StoriesOnBoard users a technique called user story mapping to help plan and more importantly visualise tasks and user stories.
User story maps break out tasks into different levels of fidelity, facilitating the deconstruction of tasks involved in development projects for clarity and easier visualisation. At the highest level there are goals (blue), these top level stories categories the activities. Goals then break down into activities (yellow), these list what the user is trying to achieve. Below this are the user stories (white) which de-construct the aspects of the activities providing how the activities are accomplished. User stories also be categorised into releases, allowing for iterative developments and for continuous delivery, providing testable software quicker and ensuring a continuous feedback loop.
Applying user story maps to planning a wedding was remarkably easy. The goals are the key categories such as stationery, decorations, venue and of course outfits. These then break out into the goals, the invites, order of the day and order of service for the stationary. From this we can then easily decimate the tasks required in order to have each goal done, so for the invites this might be “selecting a design”, “printing the design”, “collecting recipients details”, “address each invite”, “send invites” and finally record who’s coming.
As you can see with user story mapping you can very easily start to build up to do lists, making it really easy to visualise what needs doing and start to share out the work. You can even start to create releases which could be in months or 2 weeks cycles; just like scrum sprints.
The planning now seems a lot less stressful, with the clarity and structure that tools such as user story mapping brings I am starting to work my way through the planning; and even starting to enjoy it :)
Are you planning a wedding or another event? I would love to find out how you’re approaching it, tweet me @lloydsutton.