PI Planning is at the very heart of any SAFe implementation. But do we really need it? Well, as Dean Leffingwell states: ‘If you aren’t conducting PI planning, you aren’t using SAFe’ so perhaps the more pertinent question is, do we need SAFe?
Nowadays most organisations develop their software using Agile at the team level, however traditional waterfall processes persist at the programme and portfolio levels of the enterprise as the flexibility, uncertainty and incremental reviews that make Agile approaches successful requires a cultural shift across the entire organisation. The (often false) sense of security brought by 12-24 month roadmaps is difficult to sacrifice for some parts of the business as it can complicate budgeting and marketing.
The Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) addresses the lack of predictability inherent in the Agile approach and allows enterprises to scale Agile across all areas of the business. The primary way it enables this is through PI Planning.
All teams and individuals across the business with an interest in the solution from software development to marketing to infrastructure, come together to align and collaborate during a pi planning event. When everyone is in the same place decision cycles are shortened, new ideas and perspectives are brought forward, dependencies and risks are flushed out and commitments are made. By the end of the two days, teams have planned their next 8-12 weeks of work and the business has a roadmap of features and set of committed objectives that helps give organisations the predictability they need.
Of course, launching an Agile release train and conducting a first big room planning event is no small task and having an experienced SAFe consultant to lend guidance and insight is definitely recommended. Once you have experienced how powerful a structured, full-scale PI planning event is the outcome is predictable – launch more trains…
FIVE-STEP SCALED AGILE TRANSFORMATION WITH AGILICIST
1. READINESS ASSESSMENT
Every Scaled Agile transformation begins with an Agilicit assessment to help determine the organisation’s current state. Each company has different challenges and is at different stages of Agile maturity. It is important that we develop an understanding of your unique situation before embarking on a transformation. Agilicist produce a readiness report to ensure the most effective scaled agile transformation plan to maximise your return on investment.
2. DEFINE STRATEGY & PRODUCE ROADMAP
Following a collaborative review of the company’s Readiness Report, Agilicist will produce a bespoke Scaled Agile strategy including an implementation roadmap which provides clarity on the scope of the transformation.
3. TRAINING & ALIGNMENT
A comprehensive top-down training schedule is formed to align everyone involved in the area of transformation and give them the processes and tools to solve the challenges at hand and improve performance.
Once teams and stakeholders are trained it is time to begin implementing the new scaled agile way of working by identifying value streams, forming the Agile Release Trains that will deliver the product and kicking off with the first PI planning event.
Aligicist understands that the competition never sleeps and that organisations that do not relentlessly improve risk being overtaken. As such, Agilicist ensure every company we work with keeps up the momentum by developing a community of practice using internal resources so maturity continues to grow after Aglicist has completed their part in the transformation process.