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Planning Origami

Posted on Nov 11, 2015 by in Agile & Lean, Product Management | 0 comments

Corinna has just finished reading “Joy, Inc.” by Richard Sheridan, CEO and Chief Storyteller of Menlo Innovations. The book contains many nifty ideas for visual management. One such idea is “Planning Origami”. It’s Menlo’s way of making sure that clients only plan as much work as their team can actually accomplish. Check it out in this week’s 1-pager!


Did you know there are compilations of our 1-pagers? About Agile & Scrum, Facilitation and for Product Owners


Content of 1-Pager:

Do your clients & stakeholders try to push more work into iterations than the team can get done? “Just one more little thing”? It happens often because knowledge work effort is invisible. Let’s make effort & available time obvious with

Planning Origami

At Menlo Innovations, they print stories onto half letter sized sheets of paper (~A5). They fold each sheet according to the story’s estimated effort: 16h stories aren’t folded. 8h? Fold once along the length and keep the story title visible. 4h? Fold twice, and so on. 32h stories are taped onto a letter sheet (~A4).

Clients place the folded stories on big sheets of paper. Each “planning sheet” represents one week of work for one pair of team members. 8h are blocked for value-enabling activities such as Planning and StandUps. 32 slots are empty to fill with 32 hours worth of folded stories. As each story broadcasts its size you can’t push more work into the iteration than the team can accomplish. It will not fit. Literally. After planning, the chosen stories are taped onto the planning sheet.



  1. Favorite Quotes from Joy, Inc. – Menlo #1 | Finding-Marbles - […] Planning Origami (Became a 1-pager, not a blog post) […]

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