Program Increment Planning meeting aims to bring together all actors that contribute to the Agile Release Train work. No matter what is your role in this two days workshop, here is a list of things you shouldn’t miss:
#1. A clear list of business priorities. A successful PI planning starts with excellent preparation. Aligned product managers and product owners. List of priorities for the team. Before the team breakouts, every participant must be clear on what are the priorities they must follow. It is the base the teams will use for the planning. At the end of the PI Planning Meeting, the objectives set by the participants must be following the business priorities.
#2. Communication between teams. PI Planning Meeting’s primary goal is the communication between the groups. The teams together must create an aligned plan. There are multiple things the Release Train Engineer can help to facilitate the communication between teams: ice breakers, team buildings, make sure any team member is accessible. But it is the participants’ duty to be open for collaboration. Team spirit is the core value of the SAFe Program Increment Planning Meeting.
#3. Problem-solving. There are 2 points of solving issues while planning the next Program Increment: the teams’ collaboration to synchronize their work and the dependencies between scrum teams, but also management takes actions, ownership, and decisions to resolve the challenges the teams have in achieving the objectives. Management problem-solving workshop is a moment in which the leaders are taking ownership and find solutions to enable the teams to commit to the plan for the next program increment. An Agile Release Train is as powerful as the management’s capacity for solving issues.
#4. ROAM the risks at the program level. ROAM comes from Removed (the risk is eliminated), Owned (someone is responsible for the consequences of the risk), Accepted (the team plans considering this risk will be materialized), Mitigated(someone is accountable for following up and implement actions that will minimize the impact of the risk). The teams identify the risks in this format: If RISK, then CONSEQUENCE. On the second day of the PI planning, the teams must know who will be responsible for mitigating the impact of the risks identified.
#5. Assign the business value to PI objectives. The ultimate goal of the Program Increment is to have predictable teams that meet business goals. A sprint velocity is a tool the agile teams use to measure theirs have a constant pace. But what management cares about is when the clients can use the functionalities because that is the moment the return of investment starts. In Scaled Agile Framework words, it is called business value. The PI objectives must deliver business value. And the business owner must assign a unique business value to the PI objectives. The business help the Agile teams to know where they should put most of their efforts.
#6. Retrospective of the Program Increment Planning Meeting. A moment to reflect on how the organization performance, what to improve for the future. But it is also a moment to say thank you.
#7. Moving forward action plan. What we do when we get back to work after these productive days of workshops? How do we harness the energy the teams built together? A clear execution plan is a key take away.