PI planning stands for program increment planning and is considered the heartbeat and backbone of agile release training (ART). That’s because it serves as the structure to manage and connect a team working on a specific project.
PI planning sessions are regularly scheduled meetings held throughout the year where different teams within the same ART meet to collaborate on a shared vision, plan the roadmap to get there, discuss features and details, and then identify cross-team responsibilities.
If you aren’t familiar with agile planning and project management techniques, consider it like a series of sprints that make up an entire race. Rather than simply scheduling large milestones far into the future, the goal of agile planning is to build up to that milestone by working in small project segments. This process enables you to tweak and edit your work as you go, using feedback and other data to get the best possible outcomes.
PI planning would be considered the series of “sprints” throughout the year that help you or a team of people reach an end goal. When done correctly, PI planning can propel you and your team into a space of high productivity and collaboration.
For agile planning to be successful, many organizations opt to use mind mapping tools and templates to help stay organized. MindManager® has templates that can aid you and your team with PI planning by enabling you to collaborate, organize, brainstorm, and accomplish things collectively.
Business benefits of PI planning
With Agile PI planning, teams work on a PDCA cycle:
The planning stage is simple: set and define the objectives needed to reach your goal. This pre-planning helps create the roadmap you’ll need to follow throughout the PI program.
In the “do” stage, you’ll execute your plan, step-by-step. Here, you’ll carry out your plan iteratively, being careful to note your progress.
Step three helps to facilitate integration. During the “check” phase, a system demo is conducted to get feedback about how the solution is working and functioning.
Finally, the “adjust” stage addresses the functionality of the “do” stage. What worked? What didn’t? The last stage of Agile PI planning aims to identify the improvement areas and the actions needed to enhance the reliability and quality of the solution.
The process of PI planning can be extremely beneficial to an organization or business. Some of these benefits follow:
- It encourages quick decision-making.
- It promotes better management and planning for increased productivity.
- It enables the utilization of business resources by analyzing the product or solution to be able to work smarter in the future.
- It encourages face to face communication amongst different teams and stakeholders.
- It helps to identify internal issues so that they aren’t repeated in the future.
- It aligns agile teams to work towards a shared mission and vision.
- It guarantees integration and involvement between agile team members, stakeholders, and customers every step of the way.
What should be included in a PI planning agenda?
PI planning has a standard agenda. It starts with a presentation of business context and vision and is followed by team planning “breakouts” or “sprints”. Here, teams establish their objectives and plans for the upcoming PI.
PI planning is all about preparing for action. That way, when it’s time to work on the project, the outcomes are more organized and have a better chance of succeeding.
When setting a PI agenda, it’s important to include a few key steps:
- Establish your overall goal and vision. The more well-defined your goal is, the easier it will be to reach each milestone.
- Define the business context. Take time to make sure that your goals align with the market dynamics and user needs.
- Encourage group breakouts. Group meetings are an important part of PI planning. Here, groups can identify potential risks and dependencies in order to improve decision-making and productivity.
- Evaluate program risks. Evaluation meetings aim to enable teams to showcase their drafts and obtain feedback from stakeholders to establish potential risks and dependencies that may arise along the way.
- Hold a feedback meeting. Go through every action item on the PI plan. If any part of the plan receives resistance or uncertainty, they should be addressed immediately before the team can move ahead.
The best mind maps for PI planning
Some of the most common mind mapping templates used for PI planning include:
Scrum boards use a series of cards and columns to visually represent your process. These columns usually include user “sprints”, to do’s, in-progress tasks, and completed tasks.
With scrum boards, your teams can fill in new templates for each iteration. These can represent the tasks involved, who is responsible for doing what, and where you’re at in your “sprint.” Moreover, you can use scrum boards to ensure your team stays focused by utilizing them during meetings and discussions.
Kanban boards are made up of a series of different “cards” that represent different work items within a project. These cards each include a description of the tasks involved, who each is assigned to, the estimated timeline it will take to complete it, and other information that the team may need. Then, these cards are moved through a series of columns that represent the progress of the task.
For basic Kanban boards, teams will usually use three columns, which include:
The goal of Kanban boards is to keep you and your team organized and provide members with an overhead view of the project at hand. They enable more employee autonomy while working on a project without having to rely on managers or coworkers to provide them with information. Kanban boards promote productivity and focus.
Utilizing MindManager templates for agile PI planning
PI planning and agile management techniques in general are simplified by using any of MindManager’s customizable templates, which can help the entire team to stay organized and on top of project workflows. Additionally, mapping templates aid in communication amongst team members and project stakeholders.
MindManager enables members of your team to insert links, photos, documents, and other resources to diagrams so that all important data and information can be stored in a centralized document. That way, project managers can more easily share project plans with both internal and external project stakeholders.
MindManager’s cross-platform co-editing feature makes it easy for team members to get involved in the project planning process. Using the drag-and-drop feature, team members can efficiently add information to various templates such as Kanban boards, Scrum boards, organizational charts, process maps, concept maps, and other visual templates in real time.
How MindManager can be used to make your PI planning easier and more intuitive
MindManager offers an array of tools and templates that can be used for agile planning. With MindManager, you can choose from several agile planning templates that can help you visualize and execute successful, structured project timelines.
Agile planning boards and tools can be used to visualize your project, tasks, and timeline. When using one of MindManager’s templates, you and your team can collaborate and work together to ensure you’re staying organized and on the same page. Additionally, you can also add documents, links, and images to improve management and better results company wide.