Every journey must begin with meticulous, even pedantic, planning
All teams should assemble in the Convoy Alignment room for this multi-day celebration of detailed planning. It is important that the alignment happens in person and that everyone travels to a remote location to eliminate distractions from less important things such as family or pets.
We need to maximize our planning time. We only have 5 days to plan the quarter, after all. Schedule what is ideally 9 hours of work each day. Because we have eliminated any distractions not related to work, we can easily extend the daily meetings if we don’t meet each day’s planning goals. Plan the planning! If we cannot meet our commitments, we cannot go fast.
Feel comfortable that since there are no extra-work distractions, the teams will all be able to provide their utmost focus and attention to the work at hand, even if it gets extended by a few hours due to the executive management team’s desire to exceed expectations.
Breaks and lunch can eat into our schedule. Additionally, people enjoy a change in diet. Take a collection at the beginning of each day and order sandwiches. Not only will this eliminate the need to stop for lunch, but it will also result in the team-building results of a shared meal!
On the last hour of the last day, while all of the alignment is fresh in our minds, hold a “Fist of Five” confidence vote on our ability to deliver the next 8 quarters’ worth of work. We must all be very confident, so make sure everyone is aware that anything less than a score of 4 will result in additional planning until we get to the minimum confidence level. If there is not a unanimous vote of 4 or better, take another collection for sandwiches and continue until everyone is confident.
All stakeholders must be included in the vote. Alignment requires unanimity. Letting the developers see the votes of their managers and vice-versa will ensure that accountability is maintained. In the event of disparity between the developers and managers, ensure that the managers’ votes receive preference since they can influence the developers to work harder.