Making Agile Program Increment Planning Work in Today’s Environment

Agile is known as a methodology requiring collaboration. The Agile Manifesto states, “The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is a face-to-face conversation.”  It is especially important during Program Increment (PI) Planning to have a face-to-face event since it serves as the heartbeat for the Agile Release Training (ART), ensuring a shared mission and vision to align all of the teams on the ART. 

How do you maintain the collaboration when moving from 100% onsite workforce to 100% remote workforce due to the Covid-19 crisis?  This was the problem facing one of Dewpoint’s clients who had scheduled an onsite two-day Program Increment (PI) event.  The event was planned for over 250 onsite people, thus our Release Train Engineers (RTEs) had to quickly adjust to accommodate the event and make sure it was successfully using remote tools. 

What Worked Well

  • Without ‘big room distractions” people remained engaged and thoughtful during the executive, product vision and architecture vision briefings.
  • Due to conducting the event 100% remote, teams were forced to use our Application LifeCycle Management (ALM) tool in real-time. 
  • Program board visibility, risk visibility, team loads, etc. were all visible within the tool as we progressed through PI session.  This avoided the need for teams to load/enter their plans into the ALM tool after the PI planning session. 

The result –  the organization is working with vastly improved, better quality information for the duration of the Program Increment.   

Improvements Needed

  • Better tool or rules for the mechanism in which people are engaged during breakout sessions.  Some technical leaders found themselves constantly bombarded with online requests for assistance
  • On the plus side, these same key technical leaders could not hide in the ‘big room’ because they were required to remain online during the breakouts.

For additional information on conducting a remote PI session, contact Dewpoint at at https://www.dewpoint.com/contact/ for help.

Dewpoint can also assist your team with Agile with either working remotely or moving towards an Agile environment.  Checkout our Agile capabilities at https://www.dewpoint.com/agile/.

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