PI Objectives: A Step-by-Step Setting Guide

Program Increment (PI) Objectives are a crucial component of the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), allowing teams to plan and track their work during a PI. This guide will explore PI Objectives, their benefits, and how to set effective ones.

What are PI Objectives?

PI Objectives

PI Objectives are short business goals that describe the outcomes a team aims to achieve in an upcoming PI. These objectives are typically tied to business value and can help teams prioritize their work and measure success.

There are two types of PI Objectives: team and program. Team PI Objectives describe the specific outcomes that an individual agile team aims to achieve during a PI. Program PI Objectives describe the effects that an entire Agile Release Train (ART) aims to achieve.

Benefits of PI Objectives

PI Objectives provide several benefits for teams working within SAFe. They help align teams with business goals and provide a clear direction for their work. They also provide transparency into what each team is working on and allow stakeholders to track progress toward achieving business value.

How to Set Good PI Objectives

PI Objectives Setting

Setting practical PI Objectives requires careful planning and collaboration between teams and stakeholders. Here’s a step-by-step process for setting good objectives:

  1. Identify desired outcomes: Start by identifying the outcomes for the upcoming PI. This could include delivering new features or improving existing ones.
  2. Write SMART objectives: Ensure your objectives are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
  3. Prioritize objectives: Prioritize your objectives based on their importance and potential impact on business value.
  4. Assign business value: Assign a business value to each objective to help quantify its importance.
  5. Review with stakeholders: Review your objectives with key stakeholders such as product management or business owners to ensure they align with overall business goals.

SMART PI Objectives

SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Using this framework can help ensure that your objectives are well-defined and achievable.

  • Specific: Clearly define what you want to achieve.
  • Measurable: Ensure that you can measure progress towards achieving your objective.
  • Achievable: Set realistic objectives that can be achieved within the given timeframe.
  • Relevant: Ensure that your objective is relevant to your overall business goals.
  • Time-bound: Set a clear deadline for achieving your objective.

PI Objectives vs. Features

It’s important to distinguish PI Objectives from features.

Features describe specific functionality or capabilities that will be delivered during a PI, while objectives describe the desired outcomes or impact of those features on the business.

For example, a feature might be the ability to process payments through a new payment gateway. The corresponding PI Objective could be to increase payment processing efficiency and reduce the number of failed transactions.

The feature describes what will be delivered, while the objective describes the desired outcome or impact on the business.

PI Objectives Example

Let’s consider a company that produces a mobile app for managing personal finances. During their upcoming Program Increment (PI), they plan to introduce a new feature that allows users to link their investment accounts to the app and view their portfolio performance.

The corresponding PI Objective for this feature could be to increase user engagement and retention by providing more comprehensive financial management tools. The desired outcome is that users will spend more time in the app and be less likely to switch to a competitor’s product because they can now manage their finances in one place.

This is just one example of how a specific feature can contribute to achieving broader business objectives. By clearly defining PI Objectives and aligning them with the features being delivered, teams can ensure that their work is focused on delivering value and driving business success.


In conclusion, setting practical PI objectives is critical to the success of any Agile development project. By defining clear and measurable goals aligned with business objectives, teams can stay focused and ensure that they deliver value to their customers with each PI cycle. In this article, we’ve provided a step-by-step guide to setting good PI objectives, including using SMART criteria. We compared PI objectives with features to help you better understand the difference. We’ve also presented a realistic case study to illustrate how to create practical PI objectives in a real-world scenario. By following these guidelines and best practices, your team can achieve greater productivity, collaboration, and success in your Agile development projects.

Other common FAQ

What Are Good PI Objectives?

Good PI objectives should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). They should also be aligned with the overall business goals and outcomes and prioritize the most critical work that needs to be done in the given PI cycle.

Who is Responsible for Pi Objectives?

In Agile development, PI objectives are typically defined and prioritized by the Product Owner in collaboration with the team and other stakeholders such as business owners and customers. The entire team should have a shared understanding of the PI objectives and work together to achieve them.

What Should PI Objectives Be Based On?

PI objectives should be based on the desired outcomes that the team wants to achieve by the end of the PI cycle rather than just focusing on the outputs or deliverables. By defining clear and measurable results, teams can ensure that they deliver value to their customers and align with business goals.

Why Assign Business Value to PI Objectives?

Assigning business value to PI objectives helps the team prioritize the most valuable work and ensure they deliver value to the customers and the business. It also helps stakeholders understand the importance and impact of the work and make informed decisions about the project.

How Do Business Owners Quantify the Value of PI Objectives?

Business owners can quantify the value of PI objectives by considering various factors such as customer needs, market demand, revenue potential, cost savings, competitive advantage, and strategic alignment. They can also use metrics such as ROI, NPV, customer satisfaction, and market share to evaluate the value of the work being done and make data-driven decisions.