By Nader Talai • April 17, 2018

Scaled Agile Framework®, Program Board

Scaled Agile Framework®, Program Increment (PI) Planning, is one of the key events within SAFe agile training. The purpose is to provide a shared understanding of the business context, and the delivery capability, and:

  • Align delivery of features with the business needs and context
  • Provide the teams within the Agile Release Train with a shared mission
  • The teams plan what is possible based on the evidence of their delivery capability and the current capacity
  • Set a predictable delivery cadence

One of the artifacts that is produced during the PI planning is the SAFe® program board, an information radiator visualizing the features that are planned for the up coming PI. Here is an example of a made up Program Board used in a live agile training session to illustrate the point.

Program Board Dependency

One of the criticisms that is directed at SAFe® goes something like this I'd rather remove the dependencies than manage them. This assumes that we only visualize and manage the dependencies, this misses the key points of the program board and the PI planning.

  • How can you solve a problem that you are not aware of
  • The role of the team, leadership and management team in the PI Planning

The Program Board provides transparency and visibility of the dependencies and enables the organisation to address these, it is hard to address a problem that you are not aware of! By applying the principle of taking an economic view by visualizing the dependencies and measuring the delay cost as the results of the queues that the dependencies cause. The information is available to make the decision and the organisation can evolve.

The role of Leadership

During the PI planning the role of leadership is one of ensuring questions are answered and the right decisions are made by the people closest to the work and to remove dependencies. This could be a short term tactical fix for this PI planning by moving people to teams but we don't stop there we use the data and our decision making principles to address longer term organisation structures that create the dependency.

Want to learn more about SAFe and how as a SAFe Agilist you can help your organisation with your SAFe journey? Attend our Implementing SAFe training, a SAFe Agile training course.

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Next blog post: What happens in the last iteration of PI Planning?

 

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