4 mins

Promoted partner content

Business alignment is a crucial factor of organizational success and planning accuracy is the way to achieve it.

When engineers make business alignment an organizational priority – in practice, not just in theory – development processes run smoothly and teams consistently deliver high-quality products. 

The reality is, however, that many developer teams aren’t aligned with business goals, leading to unreliable and low-quality results. Planning accuracy can be a crucial strategy to rectify this, helping the organization reach its full potential, and allowing stakeholders to have a realistic picture of what is achievable across multiple teams in the business. 

In practice, planning accurately uses organization and foresight to delegate project responsibilities for maximized efficiency. Focusing on this metric, teams will be able to seamlessly accomplish objectives and generate better results. 

Top Ad Linear B

Business alignment matters 

Delivering on requested business features is crucial. To achieve this, elements such as product/engineering alignment, quality, and delivery metrics must factor jointly into the project strategy. 

It should go without saying that failing to deliver on customer expectations – with subpar, buggy products and services, or with constant delays – is not sustainable. Eventually, a chronic lack of business alignment will chip away at your organization, bit by bit.

We’ve all been in situations that could have been avoided with good accuracy planning;  perhaps the engineering teams built features that did not fall in line with the product teams’ objectives. Another scenario may be that the C-suite and different business functions have wildly differing opinions on the company’s direction. 

These all-too-common problems affect even well-functioning organizations and show how poor communication between product and engineering teams affects alignment. In some cases, this may lead to high rework rates, with engineers building something the product team doesn’t want and having to replace, repair, or reassemble a solution.

In instances such as these, it is important to focus on where and why the process is breaking down, to rectify the problem.

Planning accuracy metrics are the key  

Planning accuracy is the one engineering benchmark metric that reliably demonstrates business alignment and fosters trust. The higher the accuracy, the higher the level of predictability and stability in execution.

Unfortunately, even with alignment on business priorities, organizations can still have problems.

If a dev team overpromises on the amount and schedule of features, customers get angry and so does the rest of the business.

This situation can be entirely avoided. With some good planning, engineering teams are able to precisely predict how much work backlog items require, their capacity for tasks, and the speed at which they could finish them. 

Accurately predicting results

Being able to predict the outcome of projects is an important asset for any team. If an engineering leader is expected to deliver 20 features, those who are tapped into business priorities and engineering acumen will be able to present historical data to negotiate with stakeholders and communicate what's realistically possible.

Key indicators of efficiency and performance can vary. However, our research, covering 1,971 engineering teams and 847,000 branches, showed that delivering 80% or more of what dev teams committed and planned to is a very good marker. Most organizations, however, deliver far less, with some teams’ planning accuracy as low as 40%. 

Concerningly, this does not seem to be a big surprise in the industry. Organizations expect protracted back-and-forths, pressure on business units from engineering teams, and improvised approaches at the midnight hour. Such arduous processes should not be the norm. 

If companies focus on hitting the 80% planning accuracy mark, procedures will become more streamlined and teams will gain trust and respect, both within and outside their organizations. Ultimately, all dev teams should aim for this level. To achieve it, consider referencing the metrics that came out of our study and use them in tandem with planning accuracy techniques.

Accurate planning makes efficient teams 

Business alignment creates reciprocal benefits. A VP of engineering may care about the cycle time metric for their team, but talking to developers about merging code faster (and making their lives easier), while simultaneously shrinking PR size or pickup time, hits two birds with one stone. This is the kind of reciprocal transaction that works for all parties.

These strategic, internal team goals create alignment and make teams more consistent. When teams know what to expect from each other and have the tools they need to work toward those ends, organizational success is all but guaranteed.

Bottom Ad LinearB