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The natural way of SAFe® PI Plannings

Raphael Sigg

April 20, 2018

3 min read

I’ve already mentioned it before. We at Rentouch love sticky notes! Otherwise we wouldn’t be able to develop a tool that reflects the benefits of sticky notes as well as the piplanning app. It is always said that employees can only plan productively with pen and paper. Why does planning run dry as soon as technical tools are involved? A normal pen can “only” draw lines, it cannot suggest words that we only have to select and touch to add. The same goes for the sticky note: if we don’t have enough space for writing, there is no button that allows us to enlarge the sticky so that we can write more. Assuming we only have these two features in the analog world, people would be more distracted. You have more options. Need to make more decisions to put an idea on paper. Deciding is tiring and consumes the forces that are actually needed for thinking and planning. That’s why we like to plan with pen and paper.

A user interface is like a joke. If you have to explain it, it’s not that good. — MARTIN LEBLANC

Technical tools could basically do everything

Now the main goal of the piplanning app is to ensure that employees can plan creatively and productively, and nothing in the world interrupts this process. With a technical tool you would have the possibility to cover every wish. “What? People find it hard to be brief on sticky notes?” ”Well, then we’ll just make the font smaller so that more text fits on it.” NO! Not a good idea. Another example is the fascination with infinitely large boards. Who wants that? The answer is tech enthusiasts like me. But such gimmicks do not add value to the planning, on the contrary, they sabotage it.

At Rentouch, we have thought carefully about the area in which the piplanning app should support the planning and designed it specifically for these use cases.

  • The user interface: The usage must be exactly the same as with pen and paper. Place sticky notes on the board, choose a color, write 8 to 12 descriptive words on it. Done!
  • No futuristic functions, because they need explanation and something that needs explanation is simply not intuitive.
  • No hidden pseudo-intelligence mechanisms. This includes, for example, the automatic creation of a dependency between teams without the need to coordinate. If we want to believe this prejudice that developers are introverts, the piplanning app should not have automatisms that make a face-to-face talk unnecessary.

Of course, we do not forego technical advantages that everyone understands.

  • The color of a sticky note can be changed at any time. Unthinkable with physical sticky notes.
  • On the Program Board you can keep your finger on sticky notes with a lot of dependencies attached to it. The connected stickies will then light up.
  • The boards are all synchronized, which encourages communication. No more misunderstandings due to badly synchronized boards.

These are some of the reasons the piplanning app looks the way it does today.

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