Remote PI Planning Online with Targetprocess | SAFe Solution
Remote
Program Increment (PI) Planning
Iceland — Photo by Max Böttinger

Setup

Targetprocess provides you with a simple and seamless way to conduct remote Program Increment (PI) Planning for your teams. The first step is to begin planning for your planning event. This includes ensuring Organizational and Context Readiness is complete, then being able to execute remote PI Planning and effectively communicate to all the relevant team members and stakeholders at the different levels of the company.

Pre-Program Increment planning

Organizational readiness means that all the relevant components needed for your remote planning are ready. This includes setting the calendar and dates for your planning, and creating the relevant containers (i.e. entities used to track and manage Agile Release Trains (ARTs), Objectives, Products, Program Increments, and Iterations) in Targetprocess. Creating the Program Increment and the team iterations, or sprints, needed for the 10 to 12 week PI can be accomplished by adding the Program Increment, defining the start date and the number of team iterations. This will configure the iterations for all teams associated with the selected products, Figure 1.0

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Figure 1.0 - Creating the Program Increment and Team Iterations

Teams, Capacity and Role Assignment

Assigning the teams and the members of the team can be done at the product level, Figure 2.0. Team capacity is added on the team iterations, Figure 2.2. Milestones can be added on the PI Planning Roadmap for iteration planning events, reviews and retrospectives. You can assign new teams to the product, Figure 2.0, and people with their respective roles to the teams, Figure 2.1.

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Figure 2.0 - Assigning teams to the product
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Future 2.1 - Assigning people and roles to the team
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Figure 2.2 Team PI Capacity Planning

Context Preparation

The Executive Briefing and Product Vision Briefing(s) can be added at the Program Increment Level as a description or document, or be referenced as part of the Objectives and Key Results. The top Ten Features are worked through the funnel and are included in this context definition, Figure 3.0.

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Figure 3.0 Program Dashboard with OKRs, Top Ten PI Features, and Progress Metrics

Planning

The PI Planning Process

With the Vision and top 10 features as the inputs the PI Planning is ready to begin. This can be done remotely as a 2 or 3 day event. Timing of the event should be made to accommodate the various time zones of your teams. Outputs will include the Team and Program PI Objectives, Program Board and Team commitment to the plan, Figure 4.0.

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Figure 4.0 - The Remote PI Planning Process

Setting the Stage

The Executive Briefing and Product Vision Briefing(s) can be delivered from the Program Dashboard or using shared presentation software. This can include items such as the rules the team will use to do their planning, the acceptance criteria and how items will be added to the digital program board.

Each team will have their own folder which includes their Objectives list, team iterations and Impediments and Risk list, Figure 5.0.

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Figure 5.0 Team folder with objectives, goals, risks and impediments views

Team Breakouts: Team Deliverables

Teams can manage their Stories, Features, bugs and dependencies from multiple Boards and Lists. The full entity list and capacity / velocity can be viewed on the Team Iteration entity details page, Figure 6.0.

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Figure 6.0 Team Iteration Entity Details Page

Teams can also do their breakout planning on the Team PI Planning Board. This board allows the teams to mass move, sort and edit the items on the board, as well as assign dependencies and blockers, Figure 6.1.

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Figure 6.1 Team PI Planning Board

Planning Deliverables: Program Board & Team Objectives

Feature delivery, dependencies and delivery milestones can be shown on the remote program board. Additional relations can easily be added on this board. The board highlights blockers with red lines, and planning issues with bold dotted lines. Teams can easily filter on the planning issues to quickly resolve potential problems, Figure 7.0.

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Figure 7.0 Program Board

Program and Team PI Objectives help summarize what is being accomplished in the upcoming PI. They can be mapped to features or user stories in the backlog. The objectives can be presented as a List, and will be used to visualize the Program Predictability, Figure 7.2. The Planned Business Value (BV) will be added during the planning session, and the Actual BV will be added once the solution is delivered, Figure 7.1.

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Figure 7.1 Team PI Objectives
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Figure 7.2 Program Predictability

Collaboration

Inspect & Adapt program retrospectives are conducted, and action items are tracked using the Retrospective entity. This can cover areas like “What did we just Learn?”, “Where do we need to adjust?”, and “Where are the bottlenecks?”. The details for this inspect and adapt ceremony can be displayed as a board, Miro board, Figure 8.0, roadmap, or list, Figure 8.1.

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Figure 8.0 Retrospective conducted with Miro Board integration
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Figure 8.1 Retrospective List

Remote Team Communication

Documenting the experience is a big part of understanding the many discussions taking place. All entities have a comments box that allows teams to memorialize and share information with people and teams. This can include pictures and other rich text details, Figure 8.2.

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Figure 8.2 Comments box on Entities for Collaboration

Confidence Voting

Remote program teams need to find ways to do things like Confidence voting. One simple solution is to create a survey and include the form as a webpage on the dashboard. This example lets the Release Train Engineer collect responses and displays the results in the dashboards, Figure 8.3.

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Figure 8.3 Confidence Voting Survey in a Dashboard

Program Execution

Program Metrics

During the Program Increment execution phase team and program dashboards give the team the visibility to know how things are progressing, if we are on track or need to course correct. This can be done with a number of different types of charts including burn ups and downs, allocation, and cumulative flow diagrams, Figure 9.0.

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Figure 9.0 Program Metrics Dashboard

DevOps Metrics

Teams can track and manage their DevOps processes, source code repositories and tracking builds and releases using Targetprocess to provide the complete end-to-end visualization of all the work from the first funnel inception to the final delivery. The DevOps Dashboard allows you to see Velocity by Environment, Health Radars links from spreadsheets, Release Packages and identify bottlenecks and backlogs with Time to Market efficiency reporting, Figure 10.0.

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Figure 10.0 DevOps Dashboard

Summary

PI Planning is a collaborative experience. When face-to-face meetings are not a possibility, using the Targetprocess solution can be the next best thing that will help you setup, plan and execute your delivery. Capturing value, costs, and overall results and being able to compare improvement from one increment to another helps teams continuously improve.

Visualizations and easy-to-understand dashboards help teams and leaders make better decisions faster. And having a repeatable process is the key to being successful as your teams work together to achieve common goals and objectives.

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