Example PI Planning Agenda

Introduction

To help you get started with PI Planning, we have created an example schedule for a two day PI planning event. Note that mature organizations with embedded ways of working should not need a full two days, but it’s a good place to start if you’re just getting going.

This example schedule should be used in tandem with the PI Planning guide.

What is PI Planning?

PI Planning, or Program Increment Planning, is a critical event in the SAFe (Scaled Agile Framework) that serves as a key ceremony for Agile Release Trains (ARTs) to align teams and stakeholders around a shared vision and mission for the upcoming Program Increment (PI). A Program Increment is typically a fixed time frame, usually 8-12 weeks, during which Agile teams deliver incremental value in the form of working, tested software and systems.

You can read more about PI Planning on the SAFe website.


Introduction to the Day

0900 (60 mins)

Welcome and introduction to the day, the agenda, and its objectives. This walk through each section and explain how it should work, and what the key outputs should be.

It’s a good idea to try and get different people involved in this section to introduce the overall goals of the PI and any significant shared challenges or themes that teams may wish to ensure are front of mind.

Inputs Initiative Roadmap per Value Stream Organizational OKRs

Objectives & outputs

Common understanding of the goal for the two days, and how each of the lower level sessions are seeking to achieve.

Value Stream Break Out

⌛ 1000 (45 mins)

Break out into Value Streams for a separate, lower level introduction. At this point you may wish to review the PI Retrospective Kiplot report, which will provide detailed insight into how your Value Stream performed against expectations.

Inputs

Key Dates for the PI

OKRs for the PI

Top challenges, themes and priorities

Objectives & Outputs

Common understanding of the objectives and key results (OKRs) for the Value Stream, top priority Initiatives and Epics and challenges looking down the PI.

Break

⌛ 1045 (15 mins)

ART Deep Dives (Part 1)

⌛ 1100 (120 mins)

Separate out into ARTs to drill down into scheduling the Epics under the Initiatives. At this stage, teams should be looking at establishing a strawman that takes little account of available capacity or interdependencies.

It instead seeks to plot out the “shape” of the work over the PI and ensures there is a common understanding of the prioritization of the Epics, the Epic hypotheses and the scope of the MVP.

Inputs

Carryover Epics

“Ready” Epics

Top challenges, themes and priorities

Outputs & objectives

High level schedule of Epics to be delivered in the PI

Lunch

⌛ 1300 (90 mins)

ART Deep Dives (Part 2)

⌛ 1430 (90 mins)

The second ART session is about getting a further into the detail. We go epic by epic and ensure we have a strong understanding of the work required to achieve the Epic. This doesn’t mean that we have all of the stories written (indeed, for Stories towards the back of the PI, they’re unlikely to be well understood)

We also want to start to map significant dependencies between Epics, in particular dependencies to other teams.

As a result of this activity, we should start to generate a view of the ART’s capacity to deliver its Program Increment goals – something that might look like the screenshot below. We will use this information in the Value Stream end of day washup.

Inputs

Draft Epic schedule for the PI

Objectives & Outputs

Agreed estimates per Epic

Highlighted capacity challenges

Dependency map

Value Stream EoD Washup

⌛ 1600 (60 mins)

At the end of the day, get the ARTs back together to review the Value Stream plan. This session involves each ART walking through the output of their sessions. The conversation should focus on two key areas – inter-ART dependencies, and capacity contention.

As a Value Stream, we should be looking to validate the prioritization decisions that have been made as a result of capacity challenges. As a Value Stream, we should be looking to identify Epics that may need to be deprioritized or prioritized.

Similarly, the Value Stream, as a group of ARTs, should be looking to ensure that the dependencies and required sequence of activities makes sense. As a Value Stream, we should be looking to identify mis-sequencing and broken dependencies.

Inputs

Draft Epic schedule for the PI

Objectives & Outputs

Actions to adjust PI plan

Introduction to Day 2

⌛ 0900 (30 mins)

Recap on the previous day and a review of the emerging organization-wide PI Plan. This is also an opportunity for Value Streams to voice significant risks, issues and inter-value stream dependencies that may have been uncovered in the previous day.

ART Deep Dive (Part 3)

⌛ 0930 (60 mins)

With the outputs from the Value Stream EoD washup, ARTs should focus on any actions taken in relation to prioritization and sequencing.

The objective of this session is to arrive at a “final draft” of the PI Plan for the ART. This should include a high level sprint plan with sequencing for key stories.

Objectives & Outputs

Final draft of ART PI Plan

Value Stream PI Review

⌛ 1030 (120 mins)

In this session, each ART should walkthrough its plan for the upcoming PI, demonstrating how feedback has been taken onboard and changes made.

At this stage, where possible, the Value Stream should make changes to the PI Plan “on the fly” to refine the final view.

Together, walking ART by ART, the Value Stream should arrive at a clear view of its PI Plan.

Objectives & Outputs

Actions (and owners) to take into the Program Increment

Lunch

⌛ 1230 (90 mins)

Organization-wide Playback

⌛ 1400 (90 mins)

In this final session During this session, each Value Stream should present back its PI Plan and key prioritization decisions that have been made. This is also a useful time to showcase the resource utilization of each Value Stream across each skill type.

As each Value Stream walks through its PI Plan, calling out significant dependencies (especially where they are between Value Streams) is also important as well as any significant risks that have been identified.

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