This blog is the topic of discussion for the just concluded meet-up on 23rd July 2022. Idea is to summarize what was discussed in the session succinctly so that the conversation around this topic continues.
Scaled Agile Framework, popularly known as SAFe®, is the world’s leading framework for business agility. SAFe integrates the power of Lean, Agile, and DevOps into a comprehensive operating system that helps enterprises thrive in the digital age by delivering innovative products and services faster, more predictably, and with higher quality.
The four fundamental beliefs or Core Values of SAFe®, namely Alignment, Built-in Quality, Transparency, and Program Execution are key to SAFe’s effectiveness. 2 They help dictate the behavior and action for everyone involved in SAFe® implementation and sustaining the moment.
While every event, artifact, and role exemplifies the usage of one or more Core Values, we will dwell a bit deeper on PI Planning 3, which serves as the heartbeat for Agile Release Train (ART).
I have the following representation for the PI planning dividing them into 4 half days.
I would see each half day as exemplifying one of the Core Values. While we can see the interplay of all Core Values equally helping in the effectiveness of PI planning, the following list is what I believe helps us to see each part of PI planning complementing the other and guiding the ART.
- Day 1, first half – Alignment
- Day 1, second half – Built-in Quality
- Day 2, first half – Transparency
- Day 2, second half – Program Execution
Alignment is key when we talk about Scale. The idea of the briefing from Business, Product Management, and Architects is to make sure everyone in the room has the same understanding of Strategy, Roadmap, and Product Development practices. This is the place where leaders help connect the strategic and tactical parts of the implementation. This part of the PI planning also set the team in a common direction.
As explained by Deming, “Inspection is too late. The quality, good or bad, is already in the product”. To achieve a state of Quality, it needs to be built-in, metaphorically Quality is a first-class citizen. This part of the day is busy with teams collaborating with each other, solving dependencies, calling out risks, and working with Businesses to come up with draft Objectives. All of them help in creating a solution that meets the Definition of Done (DoD) at the Feature and Story level.
Without Transparency, decision-making based on assumptions could prove to be very costly. In this section of the day, the teams are making their final plans and commitments visible to everyone creating trust among the teams and aiming for predictable delivery. Usage of Information radiators (physical and/or digital) helps every team to be on the same page on the Objectives.
The last part of PI planning helps build the momentum in terms of executing together, as a team of teams. The aspect of commitment of everyone looking at not just their team’s plan, but also the plans of others and looking critically at the objective of reaching the goal together. The intense focus on Business Outcomes with reliability and efficiency is the key driver in this part.
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Ashwinee is an SAFe SPCT and experienced Agile Coach, Consultant and a passionate Trainer (SAFe, IC Agile and Axelos Accredited) with a demonstrated history of working in the Retail, Mobile, Industrial Automation, Banking and Networking industries. Strong engineering professional skilled in Agile Methodologies (SAFe, Scrum, XP, Kanban), Technical Practices, Test Automation and Stakeholder Management. Trained over 2000 people on Certification based trainings.