Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.

PI Planning Magic!

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Pinterest
WhatsApp

Intro

Earlier this month I was helping a software organization in an Israeli defense organization (that’s why there are no pictures) run their first PI Planning event. The day after I told my colleagues at Agilesparks that this is one event I will try to remember whenever I get into difficult times doing coaching, something that happens from time to time, coaching being what it is. I will try to remember that day because of the magic that happened somewhere around noon. And I want to tell you all about it.

If you aren’t familiar with it, PI Planning is an event where the entire (yes, entire) organization (or part of the organization, if it is big, up to around 125 people) convenes for 2 days to plan the next 4 to 6 iterations (sprints). Most people, hearing about it for the first time, respond in the exact way you did just now – incredulity. Yet, at the end of the event people are just talking about how will they make the next time even better. Having said that, the event we did this time was one day only – you need to choose your battles. As you will see, we needed that extra time.

Warm-up

The main purpose of the PI Planning event is to align and synchronize the organization and so the first day opens with overviews by various stakeholders, product managers and architects, all bringing concise messages and information – we don’t want all the people sitting there getting too bored, a challenging task. Immediately following this the teams break out for planning. Everyone stays in the same venue, huddling around tables, trying to come up with content for each of the PI’s iterations (leaving the last iteration for other things.) And here things start to warm up.

At the beginning the teams will usually stay together, calculating their capacity for each iteration and better understanding the required features to develop. However, after an hour or so it starts to be evident that there are dependencies on other teams, and this is exactly what happened at the mentioned event. One of the reasons the organization went into this in the first place is that coordination and alignment between teams did not fare so well. Yet, even though it was obvious the dependencies should be discussed, teams preferred to continue and look at their own plans, keeping to their tables, exactly like other teams in other organizations do.

Enter the program board

This is a good time to mention that another output of the event, in addition to the team’s plan, is the program board on which we clearly see dependencies between the teams. At this point of the event, the board was empty. Seeing the situation for what it was, the RTE, a sort of a scrum master of the scrum teams, started going around the tables, prompting people to start placing dependencies on the board, assertively. And so they did. And then magic happened.

We asked teams that placed dependencies on the board to make sure they talk about it with the relevant teams (people and interactions over processes and tools, right?) and this started an interaction across the teams. While at the beginning the noticeable huddle was around the program board, soon you started to see people from different teams at other teams’ tables. It was not just scrum master to scrum master but any representative with any other team members. People were thinking about where should they move this story and whether they could split that feature to accommodate for the dependencies. Suddenly you saw how decision-making went down to the ranks, how they took ownership of the big plan.

Self Organization Magic

That magic of self-organization was happening right before our eyes. Instead of some managers making all the decisions and being the pipelines for messages, people were interacting directly. Later the RTE said that while she felt she was a bit losing control of the happenings, the volume of interactions and decisions was something that couldn’t be tracked by one person. She was happy.

At some point it seemed as though energy is starting to go down and that we can start to wrap up. The RTE called for a scrum of scrum meeting around the program board where some dependencies were not handled. We gave the teams another 45 minutes.

The Confidence Vote

Once we had everyone’s attention – it was not an easy task – we asked the people to raise their hands in the air and indicate with the number of fingers what is their level of confidence in the plan. One means no confidence at all, and five means excellent. As hands went up in the air we saw one One and a few Twos. Most were from one team. We asked the people what was the issue and the response we got was that everything got into the plan because this is what they were asked to do. Not good.

What the RTE did at this point was to allocate another 30 minutes for the teams to change their plans so they will believe in them. Stories were moved, features got a bit thinner and when we had the vote again, we had a few Threes and the rest were Fours and Fives. The number of Threes was small enough for us to decide to handle these issues during execution.

Retrospective

At the very end of the day, we asked the teams to present the main findings of their retrospective. The feedback was good, mainly that teams agreed on them when and who will do what is something that so far they couldn’t manage to do. This fast coordination loop is making things that would usually take weeks or months to happen in one day. And that’s magic!

Subscribe for Email Updates:

Categories:

Tags:

Lean-Agile Budgeting
Agile Outsourcing
Agile Product Ownership
LeSS
Coaching Agile Teams
Agile Games and Exercises
Pomodoro Technique
Kaizen Workshop
Entrepreneurial Operating System®
Lean Agile Basics
ATDD vs. BDD
Sprint Iteration
Games and Exercises
ART Success
Release Train Engineer
IT Operations
Jira
Story Slicing
Agile Techniques
Nexus
Scrum Primer
Program Increment
Presentation
Agile Mindset
Agile Israel Events
Video
TDD
Slides
Daily Scrum
Nexus Integration Team
Systems Thinking
SAFe Release Planning
Agile Testing Practices
Agile Contracts Best Practices
Atlaassian
Rapid RTC
Amdocs
POPM
Large Scale Scrum
Legacy Code
Nexus and SAFe
Engineering Practices
Risk Management in Kanban
AI Artificial Intelligence
Built-In Quality
Legacy Enterprise
Agile Program
Releases Using Lean
AgileSparks
Lean Agile
GanttBan
Lean and Agile Principles and Practices
Lean Agile Organization
Introduction to ATDD
Managing Risk on Agile Projects
Kanban
Quality Assurance
Hybrid Work
Nexus vs SAFe
Kaizen
Continuous Delivery
Agile Release Planning
EOS®
Tips
Software Development Estimation
System Integration Environments
The Agile Coach
Webinar
Managing Projects
Nexus and Kanban
Agile Assembly Architecture
Agile Basics
Implementation of Lean and Agile
Agile and DevOps Journey
RSA
Scaled Agile Framework
Lean Risk Management
ROI
Lean and Agile Techniques
Agile in the Enterprise
Development Value Streams
Agile Risk Management
Sprint Planning
Scrum.org
Continuous Planning
Agile Product Development
ScrumMaster Tales
Principles of Lean-Agile Leadership
ATDD
Applying Agile Methodology
Process Improvement
Product Management
Manage Budget Creation
Agile Exercises
Agile India
Risk-aware Product Development
Jira Cloud
Scrum Master Role
Agile Community
Continuous Improvement
A Kanban System for Software Engineering
Professional Scrum Product Owner
NIT
Scrum Master
Professional Scrum Master
Agile for Embedded Systems
Iterative Incremental Development
Lean Agile Leadership
Professional Scrum with Kanban
LAB
Continuous Integration
SAFe DevOps
Continuous Deployment
Tools
SA
Business Agility
Agile Games
Agile Release Management
Lean Agile Management
QA
Scrum
Agile Project Management
Planning
Risk Management on Agile Projects
AI
Limiting Work in Progress
agileisrael
Value Streams
WIP
Self-organization
An Appreciative Retrospective
Atlassian
Scrum With Kanban
Jira Plans
Artificial Intelligence
Test Driven Development
RTE Role
Agile Delivery
Elastic Leadership
RTE
Achieve Business Agility
Frameworks
Agile Project
Scrum Values
Advanced Roadmaps
PI Planning
Kanban Basics
Kanban Kickstart Example
lean agile change management
System Team
System Archetypes
Operational Value Stream
Reading List
Lean-Agile Software Development
Scrum Guide
ARTs
Agile Israel
DevOps
speed @ scale
Code
Covid19
speed at scale
Jira admin
Acceptance Test-Driven Development
Certified SAFe
PI Objectives
Portfolio for Jira
Effective Agile Retrospectives
Certification
Scrum and XP
The Kanban Method
SPC
Sprint Retrospectives
predictability
Implementing SAFe
Introduction to Test Driven Development
Lean Budgeting
ALM Tools
Accelerate Value Delivery At Scale
Product Ownership
Lean Software Development
Spotify
Agility
Kanban Game
LPM
Enterprise DevOps
Lean Startup
Agile Development
BDD
Software Development
Perfection Game
Agile Marketing
Change Management
Agile
SAFe
What Is Kanban
AgileSparks
Logo
Enable registration in settings - general

Contact Us

Request for additional information and prices

AgileSparks Newsletter

Subscribe to our newsletter, and stay updated on the latest Agile news and events

This website uses Cookies to provide a better experience
Shopping cart