What is PI Planning?

Challenges of Remote PI Planning



By Ajay Shenoy

Bangalore, India



Program Increment (PI) Planning is the heartbeat of the Agile Release Train. Or, perhaps more accurately, it lays down the tracks for the train to make sure all the train cars go in the same direction. Large-scale SAFe development is a finely tuned machine that must be maintained.

Scaling Agile across teams helps organizations deliver larger, more complex outcomes by coordinating workstreams.

PI (Program Increment) Planning is the key event in encouraging true agile behavior in SAFe®.

It is a whole team event where the whole program – the set of smaller agile teams working closely together as a single team-of-teams – come together in a big room (hence it is often referred to as Big Room Planning) to agree a plan for the next 8 – 12 weeks. The goal of the event is to create alignment, encourage collaboration, enable self-organization, eliminate waste and exploit the synergy between the teams.

It is the beating heart of the agile release train and any SAFe® implementation.

Why is PI Planning Important?

Program Increment (PI) is one of the most critical part for successful PI delivery. If PI planning is not done properly due to any reason like insufficient backlog, or improper grooming, the whole PI will be chaotic and full of challenges.

Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) helps development teams tackle the challenges of coordinating multiple teams, processes, and programs to deliver a unified product.

The Agile Release Train (ART) is the core of all the teams working together for a common goal. In very large enterprises, there may be two or more trains working together, and that is why every eight to 12 weeks the teams need to step back and make sure they are still working toward the business goals and the overall vision.

PI Planning is scheduled at the beginning of each Program Increment and after the Inspect & Adapt Iteration. Although some companies may start the PI Planning event with the Inspect & Adapt meeting, that is not the focus of this article. The outcomes of the Inspect & Adapt event should be a part of the content of the PI Planning going forward. These items become action items for the next Program Iteration.

Steps of PI Planning

PI Planning normally lasts for two days which involves many ceremonies. Complete two-day agenda is defined to include the following


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How to cite this article: Shenoy, A. (2020).  What is PI Planning? Challenges of Remote PI Planning, PM World Journal, Vol. IX, Issue II, February.  Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/pmwj90-Feb2020-Shenoy-challenges-of-PI-planning-in-agile-advisory.pdf



About the Author


Ajay Shenoy

Bangalore, India



Ajay Shenoy, a certified Scrum Professional and Agile Coach, has been involved in Technology Solutioning since 2007. He started working as a Solution Engineer and slowly incorporated into a technical program manager. He is a Certified Scrum Professional and has good knowledge on Prince2, Agile, Lean, Scrum, Kanban and SAFe frameworks. Along with expertise in Project management, he has deep interest in Technology side. With these skills, Ajay can help people understand process as well as Agile. Ajay has a perfect blend of project management with technical skills and business acumen.

Ajay started his Agile journey in 2012, as part of engineering teams. He practiced scrum and other agile frameworks in delivering successful products within limited time frames. Ajay is proficient in Engineering practices such as Scrum, Lean Software development, and Kanban and has designed several solutions and market rollouts working with product/services companies. He believes in following key agile practices like Just In Time, Value Stream mapping, Refactoring, Improving lead and cycle time.

He single handedly built a group comprised of 700 employees with different skills/roles. He indulges in several meets/ conferences and sharing knowledge on public platforms like linkedIn with reference to Agile. Ajay has coached/trained several teams in different organizations; he was part of an agile team to improve an existing framework.

He has a Master’s degree in IT & Finance and is currently based out of Bangalore.

You can reach him on his email @ shenoyajay82@yahoo.com.

To view other works by this author, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at https://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/ajay-shenoy/



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