Hamish King

Hamish King


Thoughts and ideas from a consultant trying to improve the enterprise through better lean/agile principles, sensible design and pragmatic solutions.

Hamish King
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Thoughts and ideas from a consultant trying to improve the enterprise through better lean/agile principles, sensible design and pragmatic solutions.

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Lessons from running a PI Planning

Hamish KingHamish King

After taking a lead role in several previous PI Plannings I thought it would be worth sharing my learnings.

Prep, prep and more prep

PI Planning is all about alignment. Alignment to the vision, alignment within the teams, across the teams and ensuring all alignment points and dependencies are identified, discussed and managed.

To this end, the more preparatory work leading up to this the better as you will be able to focus on these alignment and dependency points rather than starting from a standstill working out what your teams capacity is and what stories to work on first.

Speaking from experience being in an ART (a business transformation ART mind you - rather than a software delivery ART) that did not do sufficient backlog prep or have wide enough training coverage, it can be done but it will be incredibly frustrating and difficult but it can be done with motivated people.

Lessons learned

Running through scaling and scrum simulations ahead of the inaugural PI planning

Point out key behaviors / objectives

Lead of explaining the key behaviors during each section and demonstrate with a short example of what your looking for.

Plan reviews

Backlog prep workshops

This is critical not just for preparing what features / stories to plan during the PI Planning but also a critical juncture for team building. As a coach, we typically see agile teams dominated by a lead dev or manager and running a collaborative workshop like a story mapping session devolves/democratises a lot of this planning activity

Build team relationships early

As a coach, regardless of within a scaled environment or not, building trust with the team and showing value is critical and takes time. Any prepatory work before PI planning gives the coach an opportunity to subtly influence and build trust before the big event.

Make the agenda your own

Tailor the agenda to suit your context.

Keep it interactive / engaging

Its a long two days and each slot within the agenda has its place so in order to get people engaged.

Use a big, always-visible timer

To keep the agenda tight, I have a timer up on the timeboxed sessions such as the plan reviews. On the larger ARTs we had 11 feature teams to get through so each team only had 5 mins (3 mins to present + 2 mins questions)

Also vital for the running the exercises in Leading SAFe and the other SAFe courses.

Rest!

Make sure you get enough sleep after Day 1. The end of day drinks/tema building event is a great place to unwind and digest the day but do ensure you have enough energy to repeat it all again the next day!

1/2 of the main planning area during breakout #1

one of the planning areas during PI planning (after everyone left on Day 1)

Hamish King
Author

Hamish King

Thoughts and ideas from a consultant trying to improve the enterprise through better lean/agile principles, sensible design and pragmatic solutions.

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