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By Nader Talai • May 14, 2018

Scaled Agile Framework®, Innovation and Planning Iteration

The Innovation and Planning Iteration

The Innovation and Planning Iteration (IP) occurs every Planning Increment and is the last iteration within the Planning Increment (PI) and provide dedicated time for innovation, planning and inspect and adapt events. 

SAFe® is focused on continuous customer value delivery and the teams are focused on delivering the features to achieve the PI objectives. The focus on delivery is intense and the teams focus on delivery iteration after iteration.

Relentless focus on delivery could lead to no time for innovation. To address this, SAF® provides a dedicated Innovation and Planning iteration.

Innovation requires time to experiment and learn from the tests. Without a dedicated Innovation Planning  (IP) iteration it is difficult to find the time to innovate and yet organisations can't afford not to.

Innovation Planning (IP) iteration happens on a regular cadence in every Planning Increment (PI). Planning Increment provides the delivery cadence and the IP iteration plays the critical role of providing an estimation buffer which enables predictability for PI objectives to be achieved. Without this predictability of achieving the PI objectives,  Innovation Planning will not be possible. 

IP iteration provides

  • a balance between the delivery focus and the need to improve
  • an iteration focused on innovation that happens on a regular cadence
  • the opportunity to Inspect & Adapt
  • root cause analysis
  • to improve our skills
  • improve the tooling
  • planning

Estimation buffer enables predictability

Planning to 100% utilisation leads to longer lead times and unpredictable results when problems inevitably occur. IP iteration provides the capacity buffer to stop unfinished work to move from one Planning Increment to another and ensures predictability.

Enables Continuous learning

SAFe® provides dedicated time to enable continuous learning and innovation. Everyone in the organisation is a lifelong learner. IP iteration provide the opportunity for team members to learn new techniques, technology or practice to grow and be more effective. 


SAFe and Scaled Agile Framework are registered trademarks of Scaled Agile, Inc.

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