From Vision To Victory:

The Ultimate Guide To PI Planning


From Vision To Victory: The Ultimate Guide To PI Planning

Agile is the way forward for enterprises. In a recent survey, 71% of respondents stated they’ve used agile methodologies in their software development lifecycle (SDLC); while small organizations reported strong business benefits, medium and large-sized companies continued to experience barriers.

Clearly, said enterprises need to embrace the Planning Interval (PI) in a Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), which helps midsize and large businesses better carry out large-scale, mission-intensive projects. Further, this timebox also empowers teams to take project planning and efficiency to the next level while delivering continuous value.

Now, let’s take a deep dive into a few effective measures toward PI planning.

Preparing for PI planning

Successful PI planning demands thorough preparation, which lays a solid foundation before diving into PI meetings. This ensures these sessions sum to be productive and focused.
For instance, by investing time and assets into PI planning preparation, an enterprise can achieve improved alignment, increased efficiency, enhanced communication, and more predictable delivery that ultimately leads to higher customer satisfaction and better project outcomes.

Establishing clear objectives and goals: It is critical to establish the ‘why’ behind every plan, define the objectives, and elaborate on the vision and mission. Efforts will remain intact and be fruitful with well-defined goals, leading to better resource utilization and enhanced alignment.

Identifying stakeholders and roles: Involve stakeholders—product owners, scrum masters, release train engineers, and business owners—in the planning process early on to ensure all stakeholders’ objectives, insights, and concerns are in the same direction. It avoids confusion with streamlined communication, provides accountability, and fosters collaboration among the teams.

Setting up an effective communication strategy: Use collaborative tools like Slack, JIRA, or Microsoft Teams to facilitate real-time team communication, establish regular check-ins such as daily stand-ups and bi-weekly iteration reviews, and offer visibility into progress, risks, and dependencies.

Conducting PI meetings

Once the preparation is done, it’s time for the teams to conduct PI meetings.

Defining the scope and timeline of PI: Setting clear boundaries and determining the scope of work for each sprint within PI helps teams understand what needs to be achieved and by when.

Prioritizing features and user stories: To maximize the impact of PI, it is crucial to prioritize features based on their business value. Teams can achieve this by working with stakeholders to identify critical features and user stories, allocate members and tools accordingly.

Creating a high-level roadmap: A roadmap is known to track progress and aid in managing risks. It visually represents the planned work, major milestones, and key deliverables for each PI, indicating any dependencies between teams as well as identifying and addressing any potential bottlenecks.

Executing PI plans

Following the PI meeting, the Agile Release Train (ART) executes planning intervals. Since the plans created during the PI planning meeting do not necessarily reflect on future changes and uncertainties, the team should be able to adjust during the planning interval.

Breaking down features into tasks: It involves dividing larger features into smaller, more manageable tasks that teams can complete within a single sprint. This ensures that work is more granular, making it easier to assign, track, and complete.

Assigning responsibilities and tracking progress: During PI, individuals should know what they need to do and when they should do it. Assigning tasks and regularly tracking progress helps teams monitor challenges and address them promptly to avoid delays.

Managing dependencies and addressing impediments: It allows smooth progress across the PI by mapping out dependencies to anticipate where delays might occur, monitoring potential blockers with contingency plans in place, and resolving any issues as they arise to keep the project on track.

Monitoring and evaluating PI performance

As planning interval progresses, teams must monitor the performance and make necessary adjustments to ensure success.

Conducting regular reviews and retrospectives: Measuring the impact of PI planning is crucial. Bi-weekly or monthly reviews must be conducted to track progress against the plan, meet milestones, and address deviations. Additionally, end-of-iteration retrospectives can help gather feedback and generate actionable insights to improve performance.

Analyzing feedback and making adjustments: Gather continuous feedback from stakeholders and team members through surveys, meetings, and performance data, then examine this feedback to identify patterns that indicate areas of strength and scope for improvement.

Celebrating achievements and identifying improvements: Acknowledge successes and milestones reached during PI to maintain high team morale. And, develop strategies to address areas that need enhancement in future PI planning to ensure ongoing improvement and adaptation.

Case in point

From healthcare, IT, retail, banking to finance, PI planning has successful use cases across several sectors – know to enhance efficiency, boosts sales, and help meet evolving customer demands.

Take for instance, an IT audio-video networking company, that scaled the size of its product development team, taking its growth rate even further by utilizing PI planning in SAFe – adopting it in a flexible manner and meeting specific organizational needs.

Navigate the future with PI planning

PI planning and agile methodologies not only offers enhanced predictability but also reliability in project delivery with fewer risks and more consistent outcomes.

Looking ahead, the integration of AI and ML algorithms into tools like JIRA and Rally could revolutionize PI planning by automating critical feature prioritization as well as enhancing reporting and visualization capabilities. Furthermore, blockchain integration and the emergence of alternative Agile at Scale frameworks signal a promising future for Agile methodologies, poised to meet the evolving demands of various industries.

When executed well with the right solution partner backed by best practices, PI planning successfully delivers on overall enterprise growth. HTC empowers organizations to seamlessly adopt agile methodologies, helping improve coordination and collaboration across teams, ensuring every team member is on the same page and working towards a common goal.


Parveen Syed

Parveen Syed

Lead – ADM



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