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Oct 18

Heist Planning

By Ian Walker

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Heist Planning a useful tool (2 minute read)

One of the most recent, and best things, I have come across in getting a group of technical and non-technical people on the same page and so all have a good level of understanding is Heist Planning. I first saw trialled with a small team in a well known car financing platform based in the North West of the UK. I took that back and made a couple of subtle changes to it, and scaled it to a much larger group in a more complex system, and it worked.

The premise is pretty simple to get everyone on the same level of understanding about something, I think this could work for lots of other applications than just IT by the way.

At the highest level this is how it works;

  1. A team works up some use cases.
  2. The team then draws out what the architecture should be at a component level.
  3. Each of the team then plays the role of a component in that architecture.
  4. A use case is taken, and talked through by each of the team members as what they need to do to satisfy the use case, also at this point people are passing calls and assets to each other to make it a bit more fun.
  5. It’ll take time to get the first one right, but after that it will come really easy.

The benefits are immediate and considerable, the business folk in the room have a fairly thorough understanding of the system architecture by the end of the game. The technical people have an understanding of the business, and how the business people think, more importantly what is important to the business, by the end of the game. Now when requirements come in they come in with far more understanding of what it would take to complete a requirement, or at least a modicum of understanding about which parts of the system might be affected by a request from the business.

All this is based on something of course, and it comes from films such as reservoir dogs, and oceans 11 to name a couple, where bank heists are planned, and each member of the heist team talks their role through out loud so all can hear it, and understand it thoroughly. Hopefully you might find this useful

If you would like to see heist planning in action or have us come and host a session with your teams, then feel free to contact us