With the coronavirus all over the news, it's hard to imagine how we can safely hold a PI planning event with this virus that's now impacting all of us.

We're asking for up to 150 people to come together in one location which is obviously not an ideal scenario when you've got a virus like this that's doing the rounds.

How can we take all that we've learned from all the PI planning events that we've ever done and take all these ideas and experiences that we've had so that we can design an effective, fun, and efficient PI planning event?

But this time remotely where all the participants are dialling in. So that we do not have ourselves exposed to this kind of like risky virus.

Let’s have a look at five tips on how we can run an effective remote PI planning event.


So the first tip that I'd like to talk to you about is the design.

The design of the PI planning event, obviously going to need to take into consideration the new reality that we’re putting together a remote PI planning event rather than the localized face-to-face PI planning event that we've become so used to.

1. Design for your remote interactions.

The first thing we want to do is we want to start with the end in mind.

We want to ask ourselves what are the outcomes that we are trying to achieve?

As you all know the two elements to this, one is the program level outcomes you're trying to achieve.

What are the outcomes and goals the agile release train is trying to achieve?

What are the dependencies across all of the different teams and what are the risks and the impediments at the program level as well, but equally at the team level you've got equivalent artifacts that also need to be created as well.

So it's the team goals, the team boards and also the risks and the impediments as well.

However, for us to achieve this, we now need to start to have a look at the overall agenda.

Because the agenda if you cast your mind to the standard SAFe agenda, that's below.

Screenshot 14

This needs to be radically changed so that we can have something that's appropriate for a remote audience.

If you think about it, your agenda would be straight forward because you just have one agenda that everybody would be dealing with within a room, and they would go to their breakout areas.

Now we need to set up multiple different sessions with different groups of people.

2. The Overall Preparation

So the next thing is that we need to have a look at the overall preparation which is going to be quite different.

We need to think as an individual, how does an individual prepare for that? Do we want to make sure that we provide them with guidelines?

We want everybody to have a quiet place over there. We want to make sure that their webcam is working. Are there headsets that we need to provide to them?

We need them to be able to do sound checks and we want to make sure that there's not going to be any interruptions on the day.

There's a lot of things around an individual’s preparation.

From a team perspective, we want to make sure the teams are supported, and they've got all the elements that are needed.

When they're doing the team sessions, they have the right people in the right forums so they can have that tight communication and similarly at the program tier as well.

So there going to be different individuals that are going to need to have their own requirements set up over there.

In addition to that, you've got two key elements. The data is going to be different.

Your data may be stored right now in a repository, for example, a VSTS or a JIRA or something equivalent.

And you were previously taking those out and you were putting them into the physical stickies or printouts or whatever that looked like when you were doing a physical standard PI planning.

Now you are probably taking that from one of those tools into a more collaborative online tool that you can use.

I'll be putting up videos in terms of potential tools that you can use that can help you as well.

But basically, you need to think about that.

Now think about the network.

So you've got 150 people now dialling in all at the same time, is the network going to be able to handle that? Whatever tool you're using can it handle it?

3. Make sure your diaries are set up

Let's have a look at the diaries which are going to be significantly different.

Before, what you would have had is you had to have a situation where everybody has one invite and basically, they would work to that and you would block out their two days and you would have the agenda in there.

But now what we have is we're going to have some single sessions where everybody is.

We need to have everybody dialling in. You're going to have some sessions where each team are going to be breaking up.

You're going to have to have scrum of scrums with the release train engineers and the scrum masters.

 At the end of day one, you'll have a management session as you’re need going to need to set up all of these different sessions with different participants, with different objectives and different goals, and you really need to think about how you actually do it.

Make sure you have a really good think about what are the different ideas and tools ideas and who needs to be there for you to be able to set up the diaries are effectively.

4. Focus on your tools

Fourthly is the tools are now taking on a very important role. You're going to be talking about lots of different things.

Let's have a look at some of these things that we have over here.

What are the tools that we are going to be using for?

What are the tools we're using for collaboration or the tools that we're using for the communication?

What are the web tools we're using, for example, a webcam and are they going to be on or off. You need to take the bandwidth into consideration as well.

What is our policy going to be?  Do we have a muting policy? Do we have a status policy? If I was to leave, when do I have to update my status? Where I'm going? When am I back?

Who's my delegate? What's my contact? All of these kinds of things, we need to have a think about when we're putting together our tooling strategy and approach as well.

What happens if our tooling breaks down? Do we have a plan B where we can go to if that doesn't work?

So, all of these things are very now suddenly taking on a new importance because we're now working remotely and there's a strong reliance on this.

5. Budgets

Finally, I want to talk to you a little bit about some of the practicalities of this, and now the nature of the way in which we are planning the event has changed.

So before obviously the expenses would be around your venue and your food and stuff like that.

Now it's shifted from, these kinds of real world, on-premise, onsite expenses to more tooling. Maybe you might need to spend more money on licensing.

Now you might need to spend more money on headsets or tools or whatever else you need to enable and facilitate that collaboration.

So there are your five tips:

  • Design for your remote interactions.
  • Preparation
  • Make sure your diaries are set up.
  • Focus on your tools.
  • Budget

Bear in mind that your budget could change and that could have impacts as well. If you have to cancel some hotels, then that could have financial implication as well.

Hope you found that useful if you'd like more information on remote PI planning, visit us at www.sprint0.com and message me.

I'm happy to help in any way I can. I'll do my very best to get back to you to try and help you in your remote PI planning.

Good luck, stay safe and make sure that you prepare well. I'm very confident that if you do good preparation, you can have an amazing PI planning, even though it's not face-to-face.

Good luck and look forward to seeing you in the next blog.

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