Executing PI Plannings with distributed teams is a challenge, especially in larger organizations. In that case there is no way around giving your teams possibilities to communicate, visualize and document across multiple locations simultaneously.
Enable efficient collaboration is not done by installing a dedicated video and audio conferencing solution at every location and open different communication channels as Chats, VoIP, etc. for your teams. Please don’t misunderstand me, those channels are also important to ensure collaboration. Orchestrated by people and teams there’s a lot of highly dynamic collaboration and planning going on during two days of PI Planning. The magic you may experience does not come from the plan you’ll have after two days, it comes from the planning itself. But how do you visualize and document the planning?
That’s where the piplanning app has it’s value proposition and brings benefits to every stakeholder, from team members to the top management.
Reflecting customer feedback, those three key benefits stand out:
Next to the business context, roadmap and vision, inputs to a PI Planning also includes the Top 10 Features of the Program Backlog. That’s where the Program Backlog Board comes into play.
The Program Board is one of two primary outcomes of a PI Planning. It highlights the feature delivery dates, dependencies among teams and relevant milestones.
After the PI Planning the Program Board can be used during the Scrum of Scrums to track dependencies.
During planning, Teams identify risks and impediments that could impact their ability to meet the objectives. Team-level risks stay on the Team Board while program-level risks are resolved in a broader management context in front of the whole train. The Risk Board supports to share and talk about program-level risks.
The Risk Board can be used as a living board after the PI Planning by different stakeholders.
During breakout sessions, teams estimate their capacity (velocity) for each iteration and identify backlog items like user stories and enablers they will need to realize the features. Adding backlog items to iterations every team creates a visible to all plan and describes PI Objectives.
Having a synchronized Team Board isn’t just helpful for the Team Breakout Sessions. Instead you can use the Boards for draft plan reviews, management reviews and assignment of business value by business owners across locations.
Last but not least the piplanning app gives you the possibility to synchronize your Features, User Stories and Dependencies back to your ALM Tool (Atlassian Jira, CA Agile Central, VersionOne, …). That might be enormously time saving before, during and after your PI Planning.
Eager to start visualizing your planning with the piplanning app? Give it a try!
I think it’s vital to write another article on how you should prepare for the PI Planning event itself in remote conditions. Reaching out to dispersed collaborators can seem like a tricky process, but briefing with every group is key to staying safe in a distributed release train. Read on to get a grasp of our methods when it comes to communicating across teams and achieve the best possible alignment.