How to prepare and facilitate a remote PI Planning

The COVID-19 pandemic forces many companies to work fully remote. Organizations that operate according to the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) must adapt their way of working from face-to-face meetings with more than hundred people to fully remote work in a very short time frame. Download Checklist!

The Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) becomes more and more popular with big companies around the world to deliver (mostly) software in an agile, stable, fast and efficient way. The key event of the SAFe cadence is the Program Increment Planning (PI Planning), a big room face-to-face planning with usually more than hundred people planning the next increment every 10 weeks. Face-to-face meetings are currently not an option with the COVID-19 pandemic spreading around the world – and they never were an option for companies with near- or off-shore resources.

SAFe offers some valuable insights and recommendations on how to run a PI planning in two or more locations. But what do you need to do, if everyone of your participants works from home?

We supported multiple clients in preparation and facilitation of remote PI Plannings in the past weeks with up to 300 participants spread over Europe. Most of our clients were sceptical that a remote PI planning can be held at all and some clients expected worse outcomes (plans and confidence in plans) than after a usual face-to-face PI Planning. Many things can go wrong, but with a plan and good preparation, a remote PI Planning can be successful. Our clients experienced well prepared teams, very focussed discussions and solid plans for their next Program Increments.

Key success factors for you to check include:

  • Early event preparation (setup and test tools, set agenda, communicate!)
  • Early team preparation (use the IP iteration!)
  • Adapt and timebox agenda (up to 3 days!)
  • Tooling Preparation (configure for heavy loads, have backups ready!)
  • Agile scheduling of mgmt. time (a dedicated PMO can be a great support!)
  • Keep a bit of slack (schedule extensive breaks)

If you want to find out more about how to run your remote PI Planning or how to transform your organisation into a digital and agile organisation, contact us directly!

You can find more information about our Digital Transformation services here.

A detailed checklist for the preparation and implementation of Remote PI Planning is available here as a free download.