Understanding PI Planning
Quick Definition of PI Planning
Program Increment (PI) Planning is an event that takes place to align all teams to a shared vision so they can identify and plan required dependencies.
You may already be asking things like: Does this apply to my type of work, what is an increment, how often is this done or what do you mean by vision? If you are, keep reading!
PI Planning is Valuable No Matter the Methodology
Agilists have helped popularize this term in the last two decades, and for good reason. Scrum just wasn’t enough for planning work with multiple teams. When the Scrum movement started, the IT world celebrated the Agile Manifesto. Everyone loved the new ability to expand requirements through empirical knowledge and breakdown tasks ‘just in time’. (Don’t get me wrong, this is a great way to make progress on the work that is right in front of you!)
So why would Scrum teams need PI Planning? According to Meisterplan’s Head of Product Management, Stefan Schneider, Scrum alone was usually unable to coordinate multiple teams efficiently to meet goals. This often resulted in a sort of “empty space”, a “gap” between the high-level company goals (traditionally 1 per year) and what sprints could achieve every 2 weeks. PI Planning filled this empty space.
So how does PI Planning help under other methodologies? We know dedicated Scrum teams are not possible for every type of project. For other big initiatives, you are likely to see companies use a mix of methods to complete work or the employment of less dedicated teams.
While each delivery team is very capable of delivering effectively within their own area, it becomes a struggle when working with multiple teams or with teams who follow a different methodology. The planning of work between teams with mutual deliveries still needs a coordination layer to help with interdependencies, testing and release planning. As you likely know, if you are waiting on someone else, the whole project might get extended. Project Extension = Project Delays.
Trust me, keep reading and give this a chance. 😊