In the world of SAFe, there is no perfect, secret recipe, for making sure your PI Planning session runs perfectly; we are all merely human, and couldn't possibly predict every outcome with 100% accuracy. However, what we CAN do is make sure that we set up our teams for success to the absolute best of our ability. As it so happens there IS a recipe for that, and we are revealing its secrets to you now, so that you can implement this into your work lives, and hopefully create a smoother process for everyone who will be involved.
We've been through countless PI Plannings, and have gathered and produced a rough draft of what, and WHEN, you should be aiming for when it comes to your upcoming PIP. Just like any recipe you pull off the Internet, you are more than welcome (and highly encouraged) to edit, and mold this basic schedule outline, to fit the needs of your company. Good luck!
Starting about the time your first sprint is done, you're going to want to make sure that there is an accurate, up-to-date email list for everyone who's attending. Get with your Scrum Masters and Product Managers and go over it with them. What additions or subtractions are being made to this list? Has anyone received a promotion and needs a title change? Are all Business Owners and Architects listed, so that they can be kept abreast of any and all schedule changes? You're going to want to make sure that any email aliases have also been modified, to reflect any recent changes.
Your PIP is just on the horizon, and rapidly approaching. Hopefully your Business Owners are getting prepped and ready for their portion of the presentation. Set up a meeting, and discuss any upcoming Epics they might be bringing up, and ask to see any context slides that they've created. Your Business Owners are going to be the first people up on stage after the introduction is given, so it's doubly important that they're sharp and ready to go.
Just as importantly are your Architects. Everything that you did with the Business Owners, you're going to need to repeat with the Architects. It's best practice that you're teams are informed of whats going to be presented, so getting with both sides, and discovering what they have planned, is critical.
Some consider this next part to be THE best/most important/must-have-part of any PI Planning. Every single person in that event has just had two solid days of non stop work. They've put every iota of energy they had into making sure that your business succeeds and flourishes over the next 10 weeks. There's been great conversation, a little give and take, some laughs, and collaboration like you've never seen. We can guarantee they'll be exhausted! You're going to want to do 2 things at the end of the PIP. Thank them from the bottom of your heart for putting in such a tremendous effort; None of this would be possible without everyone working together as a team. Secondly you're going to remind them about the Happy Hour event that you've set up and sent out invites for. Any local place that serves great food, and maybe a drink or two, that everyone is encouraged to go to after work. There's nothing like an amazing wind down after a stellar, all out effort. Don't forget to do this, because they absolutely deserve it.
It's going to be a long 2 days! Peoples energies are going to be depleted, and quickly! Thankfully we can do something to mitigate that- FOOD! You'll NEED to bring in food on site, in the room with everyone. Unfortunately when people are allowed to leave, they tend to not come back after lunch. Make sure your food has a variety between the first and second days, and that all food restrictions are considered when ordering.
Your management team will need to meet and go over any final changes requests that may have come up, in regard to the schedule. Get a solid lock on the schedule, at this time!
Send a per day invitation with a preliminary final draft of the schedule out to everyone. Room info should also be included in this email!
Supplies. Oh man can you never have enough! Your company is going to burn through quite a bit these two days! Among the things you'll need are: Sticky notes (lots of them. And varying colors too!) Index Cards, Poster Boards, Markers, Scissors, String, Painters Tape, Name Tags, Butcher Paper, and some Decorations. Order these ASAP to ensure a timely delivery.
Encourage an RSVP "reply" on the email invitation that you sent out. This will allow a more defined quantity of how many supplies you need, and exactly how much food you'll be needing.
Pull all of your Epics together, and continue going over them with you're team. The more they know about them, and what to expect, the better prepared they'll be for the day!
Reach out to your happy hour location, and narrow down the numbers for what they can expect, when you'll be there, and how many people they can expect
Add the context slides/presentation decks to the invites, and make sure people are aware, so that they can take a look at it
The big day is tomorrow! Prep your meeting materials and decorations i.e. any information posters that you may have, or any previous PI posters that you would want to reuse.
Make sure your presentations are split up by their ARTs! We don't want anyone getting crossed messages!
Print handouts for each team! You'll need at least one copy per team, per table. This should include Structure, and Schedule!
Get your room set up! This includes:
We've even put this entire list together as a downloable PDF file, so please click away! We hope that this resource will be useful to you