A Complete Guide to Understanding PI Planning

Everyone wants to become successful in business while beginning with a small start-up. All business persons have their goals and want to achieve them by building their teams. Everyone looks for the right methodology and tools to bring all teams into one room and work in proper alignment. Agile projects are somehow complicated and need alignment in teams and tasks.

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PI planning is the right tool for achieving a company's goals together, no matter if multiple teams are working on it. PI planning makes it easier to address the teams on a single platform and generate fruitful results. It ensures that each team of the company is going in the right direction and collaborating.

What is PI planning?

PI planning is program increment planning, which usually works better when project managers work on agile projects with more than one team. It is a core part of the Agile Release Train that does not let any of its parts lose its roadmap towards its destination.

In agile projects, the teams work like the train's rail cars. Through PI planning, the agile release train works in collaboration with the same vision, following the same road map and looking for the same goal.

PI planning is suitable for the bigger companies having many teams, like 300 to 400 teams at a time.

·   In PI planning, the managers assign some tasks to a team to build and then divide them among another team.

·   It means one team is assisting the other, and so on. While working in such a large framework of agile release train, the companies need to look back to check whether the teams are collaborating or not.

·   At each point, collaboration is checked and maintained. If one team makes a mistake, the next team may make a mistake.

The reason is very simple next time, is going to add an extension to previous work whose base team A has made.

How to do PI planning?

PI planning is not as much easier as it seems by its name. It is a much more complicated tool and needs experience to deal with. For PI planning, you need to work on preparatory steps and then the project's agenda, and then you can achieve the goals behind PI planning.

3 important steps of PI preparation

We need to follow these three preparatory phases or steps to prepare PI planning.

1. Organization preparedness

When we start work on any project, we need to have a discussion meeting, including stakeholders, managers, CEO, and team members. Every person must be part of PI planning. When all authoritarians of the company and projects discuss the project and finalize it, you can proceed with it.

So, before starting working on the project, you need to organize the preparatory meeting for a start-up. The meeting must be scheduled and shared with all team members leading the company's project.

2. Content preparation

You need to move towards content when you feel you have done the preparatory organization meeting and get the goals clear for all. The vision and mission are the next targets you must decide on after the organization's preparedness.

Every member of the team should know what the vision of the company is and his company's mission. So, drill it at least many times that everyone intentionally or unintentionally about the vision and mission of the company. It is the responsibility of the CEO and stakeholder of the company to drill out the vision with the team members.

3. Facility preparation

When looking for PI planning, your preparation should be of the level. You should arrange a big room as you call all the teams for the meeting. The room must be twice as a conference room, or you may say it should be a hall. It must have a big screen to visualize the presentations of your plan. It must be wide and clear enough that every team member can move easily, meet other members, and ask questions.

Agenda of PI planning

PI planning also includes an agenda that should be clear and trackable. After preparations, you need to explain the agenda of PI planning to all the teams who are gearing up to make an Agile release Train. The following are important points of the agenda for PI Planning.

Goal setting and vision are defining.

You are moving disruptively until you do not have any vision or goal. When you do not know what you want to achieve, how can you choose your path and get things done? Everything you are doing without setting a goal is useless.

So, before you start working on any project, you should look for goal setting. If you have done previously with an agile project, you can highlight the learning objective and results of that project. By doing so, you can recall the vision of the company and also define a goal for an upcoming project.

Business context defining

The vision and mission of a company should be clear so that everyone can understand it, and it should match the users' needs as well.

 Here, you need to make sure that by matching the user-end needs and the company's vision. By doing so, you can easily define the business context of your company, and soon it will touch the sky.

Defining RTE process

For a company, the Release Train Engineers are its backbone who are developing different programs, so they must be aware of everything. They should know the company's vision, goals, and objectives. RTE works on the goal-achieving program by understanding the needs and teams' queries so that they can work properly.

Groups/Team breakouts

Group breakouts are another step of the PI planning tool in which each team knows about its delivery speed. Each team can estimate the backlogs of the product development and can decide on how they can achieve their predetermined goal.

Risk evaluation

When we are working on a project, along with the goal achieving, we are also facing some challenges and some of which lead to becoming future risks. We need to identify the future risk by discussing the potential issues. By evaluating the risk rate, you are idealizing the roadmap and ensuring it is straight and all you will get the company's goal.

Confidence vote holding

As you are dealing with many teams and you should have their confidence. Every team member should admit your suggestions and be ready to be with you on board. If you lose one or more votes, you lose the balance and need to look for other options as it might be possible your plan is not working, or you need to make amendments in tea work.

Setting feedback session

In the end, when you have defined goals and vision, your team knows the company's goals and the project's needs. They will look into the plan you shared. Ask them to share feedback about the planning. At the end of the session, ask the attendees to share their views about it. You can gather multiple opportunities for improvement and development of PI planning.

Why is PI planning important for your business?

Thinking of why you should look for PI planning? As is well-discussed earlier in this article that PI planning is best for the larger business instead of beginners or new business rivals, so larger companies must follow it.

·  PI planning promotes teamwork.

As PI panning is all about dealing with different teams and taking them to a single platform so, it promotes teamwork. By following the PI planning tool, you can engage all teams of your company on board and let them collaborate just like the train cars and move on the same track leading to a common destination.

·  Improves social network

When looking for PI planning, you call all team members, stakeholders, and managers; you are gathering everyone in one place. They meet, ask questions, and share their ideas by having a healthy discussion.

·  It speeds up ART collaboration.

PI planning also speeds up ART collaboration by engaging people of more than hundreds in different teams.

·  It makes task completion faster.

As all teams are in collaboration, they are working on different tasks by proper alignment, so they are distributing the work. When the work is distributed, they can achieve the milestones in a short time.

·  Empower decision-making skill

When you are working on PI planning, you will get different ideas from different team members and stakeholders. It promotes decision-making power by sharing different ideas with the team.

Drawbacks of PI planning

Along with many advantages and importance for the business world, PI planning also shows some drawbacks.

·   It seems boring due to lengthy sessions

·   Alignment is team synergism may lose

·   Trust issues may arise

·   May face technical issues

·   It seems you keep on playing with older tools

·   It follows time restrictions when one team sticks to one step


PI planning is best for the larger companies working on a big project by collaborating with different teams belonging to different departments.

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