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5 tips to make IP Iteration more effective

Silvio Wandfluh

March 10, 2022

2 min read

«If it needs to be successful, it actually needs to be tough.»

An IP iteration is wonderful for its ability to foster growth. Nothing helps your team discover new perspectives and redirect efforts like a fantastic plan for the times ahead.

One of the reasons why IP iterations are performed is to allow your ART (Agile Release Train) to have a moment of resetting. However, new cycles bring their fair share of instability. Life always finds a way to get in the way of the best of plans and create additional stress as you move forward.

Thankfully, there are ways to make that road easier to walk! I wanna sum up what agile leadership expert Shane Harrison shared on how to make the IP iteration process lighter:

  • Start on a Wednesday. Why is that? In most countries, there are many public holidays landing on Mondays and Fridays. Long weekends are made for taking a breather and restoring energies, so avoid any unwanted clashing with your IP iteration’s start and finish dates.
    But there’s more to it: if you take a close look at our biological clocks, Fridays are when our energy is at its lowest. Creating a solid demo or retro requires productive conversations, so this will weed out that “clocking-out anxiety”. 

  • Move your speak-and-adapt phase straight to the front of the iteration. With thorough analysis often comes a need for change. After running functional analysis procedures and identifying underlying issues, you may be in need of structural or cultural alterations, or maybe there’s a new feature that needs to be communicated across teams. It’s clear to see how having those conversations the day before PI Planning is far from sustainable.

  • Still on the matter of inspecting: run your first 3 PIs with standardized procedures. After that, a standard paradigm will do your project more harm than good, because there is a higher chance that your team will grow bored of that structure of analysis, or that the original model no longer serves the specificities of your ART or Solution Train.

  • Communities of practice, or capability organizations, hold powerful leadership and creative potential. They are the real force behind generating value through critical thinking, so trust them and give them time. Two days’ time is a great frame for hosting regional conferences and allowing developers to work together and strive for innovation. 

  • The day before PI Planning should be reserved for a final verification. Make sure that everyone is ready for what’s coming, whatever that means for your specific circumstances. This is the best time to have your IT groups and scrum masters run extensive backlog groomings and close whatever processes need completion.

  • As for what happens between the end of planning and the start of a new iteration process: reserve two full days to fully flesh out your content and see where any possible flaws may lie.

Watch the full episode - PI Planning Cooking Show | Innovation & Planning Iteration

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