The PI-Planning is the heartbeat of SAFe®. Here everyone is focused on a common goal, the most important things are prioritized and then highly motivated to fill the backlogs for the next iterations. A PI-Planning lives from transparency, face-to-face communication and many people in one place. How does it work now that Corona is encouraging us all to keep personal contact to a minimum, avoid crowds and stay at home if possible?
We came across this challenge in mid-March at one of our major customers, a global energy technology group. The introduction of the Scaled Agile Framework SAFe® 5.0 was planned there. The first step was a 2-day SAFe® training course to impart knowledge, followed by the PI Planning (PIP) with more than 140 participants across countries.
But then came Corona: Within a few days everything was changed over. Weeks of planning were obsolete. From the PI-Planning, a PIP over 3 time zones and 3 days with participants on site and via videoconferencing over 3 countries became highly flexible. The training had to be shortened from two to one day in order to meet the time frame. In particular, the exercises that train cooperation should be retained! Although the uncertainty of the customer's employees was great, the experience of the KEGON consultants together built up enough courage to create the framework for the PI planning at short notice.
True to our motto "We are learning", we all learned a lot, worked hard and achieved the first results remotely on the first day of PI planning. At the end of day 2, the restrictions became even stricter - the first team members had to return to their home EU countries earlier. On the last day, there was also a short-term instruction that all participants had to leave the building by 6 pm.
The answer of the customer and KEGON consultants? Stay agile and adapt to the circumstances in a sensible way. Thus, by further focusing on what is essential for the customer, the 5-hour event was highly concentrated for three hours, which despite extraordinary circumstances resulted in a valuable plan and a differentiated consideration of the risks for the next weeks. This was again confirmed by a very good confidence vote at the end. Once again, we were able to help our client to successfully master the first PIP. Together we learned a lot about agile values and remote working.
KEGON, as the first-mover of the Saled Agile Framework SAFe® in the German-speaking world, has once again proven what lean-agile working means in practice and that even large events with 140 people can be switched to "remote" at short notice, so that they still work. Even though personal contact "Face-2-Face" is of course most important to us and our consultants, communication still works with the use of the right tools and the right attitude.
Due to the current situation, KEGON not only offers all trainings on the Scaled Agile Framework as "Remote Classes": see https://www.kegon.de/wissen/blog/stay-safe-mit-remote-trainings0/. We also offer our high quality consulting services around the SAFe implementation and agile projects in large companies remotely at any time. For further information, see Contact.