PI Planning is a pivotal event in the SAFe framework that brings together all members of an Agile Release Train (ART) to align on a shared vision and plan for the upcoming Program Increment (PI).
But how can you ensure that your PI Planning event runs like clockwork and achieves its objectives? The key lies in effective Pre PI Planning.
What is Pre-PI Planning?
Pre-PI Planning is the process of preparing for a PI Planning event, which typically involves two days of intense collaboration and planning by the entire agile release train (ART).
During Pre PI Planning, teams clarify their objectives, dependencies, and risks and identify potential roadblocks to achieving their goals. By doing this pre-work, teams can come to the PI Planning event with a clear understanding of what they want to accomplish, making it more efficient and effective.
Why is Pre-PI Planning needed?
There are several benefits to conducting thorough Pre-PI planning. These include:
- Improved alignment among teams and stakeholders is like pieces of a puzzle coming together
- Increased clarity on objectives and priorities, like shining a light on a path
- Reduced risks and dependencies, like removing obstacles from your way
- More efficient use of time during the actual PI planning event, like streamlining a process
For example, imagine that you are part of an Agile Release Train (ART) working on developing a new software product. Without effective pre-pi planning, your team might arrive at the pi planning event without clear objectives or priorities. This could lead to confusion, misalignment among teams/stakeholders, and wasted time during the event.
However, with thorough pre-pi planning activities such as gathering inputs from stakeholders; identifying dependencies/risks; establishing clear objectives for upcoming pi; communicating effectively with all team members – your team can arrive at the pi planning event well-prepared with a clear understanding of what needs to be accomplished during the event itself.
Challenges of Pre-PI Planning
Despite its benefits, Pre PI Planning can be challenging for teams. Some common challenges include:
- Lack of buy-in: Teams may resist Pre PI Planning if they don’t see the value in it or feel it’s taking away valuable development time.
- Time constraints: Pre-PI Planning can be time-consuming, and teams may struggle to find the time to complete all the necessary pre-work.
- Difficulty in prioritizing: With many different objectives and dependencies to consider, teams may need help prioritizing their work effectively.
For example, imagine you are trying to gather inputs from various stakeholders before the pre-pi planning event, but some stakeholders are unresponsive or slow to provide the necessary information. This could create a challenge in terms of effectively preparing for pi planning itself.
Essential Things for Pre PI Planning
To overcome these challenges, teams must follow essential steps and use a Pre PI Planning checklist. Here are the most important things to consider during Pre PI Planning:
- Clarify objectives: Teams need to have a clear understanding of their objectives and how they align with the overall goals of the program.
- Identify dependencies: Teams should identify any dependencies on other teams or systems that could impact their ability to achieve their objectives.
- Assess risks: Teams need to identify potential risks that could impact their ability to achieve their objectives and create a plan to mitigate them.
- Prioritize work: Teams should prioritize their work based on business value, dependencies, and other factors.
- Identify roadblocks: Teams should identify any potential roadblocks to achieving their objectives and develop a plan to address them.
What Are Steps Pre-Pi?
While every team’s pre-PI planning process may differ, here are some of the essential steps that should be included:
- Review the current state of the product and identify any potential roadblocks.
- Revisit the product vision and strategy and ensure that the upcoming PI aligns with the long-term vision.
- Work with stakeholders and the product owner to identify and prioritize the most critical features and requirements for the upcoming PI.
- Develop a program backlog that outlines the work that needs to be done during the PI.
- Ensure that the team is adequately prepared for the upcoming PI planning event.
- Conduct a pre-PI planning meeting to review the program backlog and ensure everyone is on the same page.
Pre-Pi Event Example
To illustrate how a pre-PI planning event might work in practice, consider the following example:
The team at XYZ Corporation is preparing for their upcoming PI planning event. Before the actual event, the team conducts a pre-PI planning meeting. During the meeting, they review the current state of the product and identify potential roadblocks.
Next, they revisit the product vision and strategy and work with stakeholders and the product owner to identify and prioritize the most critical features and requirements for the upcoming PI. Based on the prioritized features and conditions, they develop a program backlog that outlines the work that needs to be done during the PI.
Finally, they ensure that the team is adequately prepared for the upcoming PI planning event and conduct a pre-PI planning meeting to review the program backlog and ensure everyone is on the same page.
A template can incredibly helpful when conducting pre-planning activities providing structure around what needs to be done before occurs
Pre-PI planning is an essential part of the PI planning process that helps ensure that the team is adequately prepared for the upcoming PI planning event. By following a well-defined pre-PI planning checklist and conducting a pre-PI planning meeting, teams can overcome the challenges.
Other common FAQ
When is a Pre-PI Planning Event needed?
A Pre-PI Planning Event is needed before the actual PI Planning event. It is typically scheduled a few weeks before the PI Planning session and is meant to prepare teams and stakeholders for the upcoming planning session.
What Occurs in the Pre PI Planning Event?
The Pre-PI Planning Event involves a series of activities and discussions aimed at preparing teams for the upcoming PI Planning session. Some of the activities that may occur in the Pre-PI Planning Event include reviewing the previous PI Objectives and results, assessing the current status of the program and team capabilities, identifying risks and dependencies, and prioritizing features.
What is the Difference Between Pre PI Planning and PI Planning?
The main difference between Pre-PI Planning and PI Planning is their focus and timing. Pre-PI Planning occurs before the actual PI Planning event and is focused on preparing teams and stakeholders for the upcoming planning session. PI Planning, on the other hand, is the actual planning event where teams come together to align on the PI objectives, plan the upcoming work, and prioritize features.
What Are the Outputs of Pre PI Planning?
The outputs of Pre PI Planning typically include a clear understanding of the current state of the program, identified risks and dependencies, a prioritized list of features to be planned during the PI Planning event, and a set of preparatory activities that teams need to undertake to get ready for the PI Planning event. These outputs help ensure that the PI Planning event is more effective and that teams are aligned and prepared to achieve their goals.
PI Planning Vs. Sprint Planning
You can learn the difference between PI Planning and Sprint Planning through this article: PI Planning vs Sprint Planning