Three topics came up that we believe helped us improve our PI Planning.
Clear Socialization Purpose and Different Meeting Types
- Understanding the purpose of socialization helped the team understand why socialization was so important and what needed to be accomplished during these meetings. This led the team to identify what they already knew and what gaps they needed learn, which led to better questions during each session.
- Our Product Owner used a variety of socialization meeting types to produce new insights and different questions.
- High level, first pass – we just went over the features we intended to plan during PI Planning. This was to get our feet wet.
- In depth with shared services – This helped us think about our dependencies and ask questions we didn’t think of during our first session.
- Teach Back – Our Development Team taught our Product Owner the features we were going to work one. Any gaps in their teachings our Product Owner answered in order to finalize our preparations for PI Planning.
- Side note: The teach back was inspired by a separate team that was planning on doing the same thing!
Begin With The End In Mind Strategy Towards Team PI Objectives
- Identifying and clearly writing our PI objectives upfront helped the team envision our destination, so we spent the majority of time figuring out how to get there.
- The Development Team did an excellent job using the remaining time to come up with how to accomplish the objectives and they were able to take on unexpected work because it fit into our destination.
- A fourth feature was brought to us and because of our clear objectives, the Development Team knew they could commit to the feature.
- Working closely with our business stakeholders and other train leaders to get feedback on our objectives helped speed up the process. This prevented us from getting stuck and verified we were headed in the right direction early in the process.
- We had great conversations about what should and shouldn’t be a stretch objective.
- These conversations helped us think about what we truly control and not trying to achieve outcomes out of our control.
Shorter Feedback Loops From Shared Services and Business Stakeholders
- Leveraging our shared services with more urgency and without hesitation helped us get answers quickly and prevented major bottlenecks in the planning process
- Listening for key phrases like ‘I am not sure how that works’ or ‘I assume that is what was meant’ immediately triggered our Scrum Master to bring in stakeholders, shared services or other leaders to help get answers
- Working hand-in-hand with business stakeholders helped improve ideas around the objectives to avoid unclear wording and reduced time to get business buy-in when finalizing our objectives.
- Also, because we were getting our business stakeholders involved earlier, they seemed more engaged and more part of the team.
What helped you in your PI Planning or what do you think of these tips? Let me know!