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Preparing Features for PI Planning: SAFe

Part 1: The Danger of Waterfall Thinking: Just Enough, Just In Time Is Actually Very Little

Many teams struggle to let go of their waterfall, silo mentality when they first transition to agile ways-of-working. In particular they shy away from collaboratively working on the definition, evolution and implementation of their backlog items insisting on up-front definition of Features and Stories, and clean handovers between the Product Owners and the Development Teams.

This is an issue that we see with all the various agile methods but which always seems to get compounded whenever teams try to scale. In this short blog series we will look at how this tendency towards waterfall thinking can seriously hinder team’s adopting SAFe® and working with a Program Backlog full of Features. We will also provide some advice on how to get your Features Ready without succumbing to premature Story writing.

Feature Slicing

One of the key activities that will help make your SAFe program a success is the careful preparation of your Features prior to Program Increment (PI) planning. And one important part of this preparation is to slice up any of the targeted Features that are too large to be easily delivered within the PI.

Scaled Agile Gold Partner

Visualisation Technique for Constructing & Understanding SAFe Program Backlogs

I was recently asked to help facilitate and to act as coach at a multi-day kick-off event for a new Agile Release Train (ART). The agenda initially looked a lot like that of the SAFe Program Increment (PI) Planning event, but there were immediate differences, the main one being a restricted attendee list due to ongoing team recruitment. The people in the room consisted largely of the SAFe Program level: Release Train Engineer (RTE), Product Management, Product Owner, Architecture, and a few Subject Matter Experts...