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How to Brief Your Way to Safer PI Planning

Raphael Sigg

November 16, 2022

3 min read

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.

Firstly, briefing with the scrum masters should focus on defining clear-cut expectations of roles and responsibilities. They should keep their teams engaged with the major scope of work by not getting lost on detailed planning. They also need to stay in contact with business owners, product management and the release train engineer (RTE)  to keep priorities aligned. 

As you meet with your scrum masters, go over the logistics of the event to make sure everyone is on the same page: the schedule itself, who needs to be where and when. Guarantee that those scrum masters and the product owners are in contact with their teams and that all architectural support is assured. This is the ideal moment for delineating the timing and unrolling of the event as well. To run a smooth event, teams should care for features by highest priority first, planning one at a time before moving on to the next items. This hierarchization must be discussed thoroughly. As such, for that stratification to work, you mustn't forget to explain your setup and make sure all computers are capable of running the tools needed effortlessly. Lastly, agree beforehand who’s going to present what and in which specific order, since presentations of draft and final plan reviews can quickly become chaotic in a distributed environment. For all these checkpoints, supporting technology such as is a great choice!

Then, your briefing with the business owners, product managers and architects will determine the success of your second round of planning. This is the moment when the teams start applying business value to the objectives at hand; so, it’s easy to see how their full involvement is vital. As such, there should be a clear roadmap of how they can best assist their work groups. For awesome visibility and comprehension, you can try preparing a handout that contains all the essential advice to reduce any ambiguities. As a final note, this type of strategy is also useful when running your scrum of scrums (SoS). A major checklist is a good way of visually representing at what stage of development they should be at any given moment.

Last but not least, remember to communicate with your executives. This group will be in charge of giving you business context and overview at the start of the planning. Make sure they tailor their message and know how to deliver during presentations, even if the timespan is shorter than expected.

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