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Don’t Plan, Speculate

by Jim Highsmith, 7 July 2011 | Agile Planning

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One thing people are learning is that you can’t plan uncertainty away. Plans are good for things we know, or things that we may have some control over. However uncertainty—and its close cousin’s ambiguity and velocity—defy planning. When I originally introduced my Adaptive Life Cycle in Adaptive Software Development, the three high-level phases were Speculate, Collaborate, and Learn. I expanded on these in Agile Project Management to be Envision, Speculate, Explore, Adapt, and Close. In either case, Speculate takes center stage. Planning says, “I know something and this is how it’s going to be.” Speculate says, “Here is my hypothesis about the future, let’s explore.” Some of my thoughts on Speculation in Adaptive Software Development were: