Virtual PI Planning made easy with Metronome-Orchestrated Agile SAFe Tool

By: Radus

Virtual PI Planning made easy with Metronome-Orchestrated Agile SAFe Tool


There is nothing wrong with your PI Planning Session.

Do not attempt to adjust the processes. The Government is controlling whether you can attend in person or not. If they wish to allow you to engage in person, they will do so.  If they insist, with very good reason, that you engage in it virtually, then you have the challenge as to how to get it done.  But if you allow us, we CAN help you do your PI PLANNING!

We will enable you to control the horizontal (portfolio/program Kanban, etc.).  We will enable you to control the vertical (Epics, Features, Stories, Tasks).  We can change your focus from a soft blur, enabling you to sharpen it with crystal clarity. For the rest of this newsletter, sit quietly and we will control all that you see and hear.

We repeat: There is nothing wrong with your PI Planning Session. You are about to participate in a great adventure. You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the inner mind to… a Metronome-driven virtual PI Planning Adventure!

No, Rod Serling above did not narrative ‘THE OUTER LIMITS’.  He was the ‘voice’ and ‘visionary’ behind ‘THE TWILIGHT ZONE’.  But regardless of whether you may have liked or disliked THE OUTER LIMITS and/or THE TWILIGHT ZONE, there is no denying that COVID-19 is making most of us feel like we are all part of some kind of surreal, strange adventure.  And despite the fact that things WILL improve, business WILL return to some kind of ‘normalcy’ (hopefully much SOONER than later!), we have to deal with our reality in the here and now.  And this includes running our businesses and planning as we always have.  For example, pretend that this scenario, below, is ‘you’:

You are planning, or trying to plan, your next PI.  Here is a good sequence of events and if my past decade of work is any indication of what you might be facing, you and your team are jumping in and out of whatever Agile tool you may be using, or trying to use- because …well, you know why!

With Metronome-Orchestrated Agile, we can offer you ‘relief’ from this frustrating game of “hop-scotch”!…… This is how we have done it.

Pre- PI Planning:

Set the calendar dates for your PI.

PI Planning Calendar Dates

You can now set the tone for your PI with a well-groomed and elaborated Program Backlog. Use WSjF to prioritize the Features in the Program Backlog.

PI Planning - Program Board - WSJF Priority

PI Planning


PI Planning Day 1

Business Owners can kick start the PI by reviewing the upcoming major events in the planning horizon and objectives.

PI Planning - Business Owners can kick start the PI by reviewing upcoming major events in the planning horizon and objectives

Product Management can review the Vision and the Features planned for the PI and any upcoming Milestones and Releases. Your Architecture team(s) can leverage the Architecture Runway to present the architecture vision.

PI Planning - Product Management can review the Vision
PI Planning - Product Management can review the Features planned for the PI
PI Planning - Product Management can review upcoming Milestones and Releases. Architecture team(s) can leverage the Architecture Runway to present the architecture vision.

Team Breakouts

PI Planning - Team Breakouts

Team Breakouts #1: The Program Board in Metronome displays the initial set of Features identified for the PI. During the first breakout session of PI Planning, teams that access the Program Board can view the Features (using filters), they plan to work on in the upcoming Program Increment. Additionally, Teams can add Features directly to the Program Board with Metronome and can also break each Feature down into Stories and assign them to Iterations without having to navigate away from the Program Board. With Metronome, Teams can quickly set/create and establish the Capacity for each iteration in the Program Board. Metronome has powerful visual indicators that helps teams plan and commit to stories.

PI Planning - Program Board - Set Capacity, View and add features, break down features into stories


PI Planning - Day 2

Teams can also easily enter their PI Objectives and as they do so, include any Uncommitted objectives that the groups decide are relevant.

PI Planning - Teams can easily enter their PI Objectives

Team Breakouts #2: During the 2nd session of PI Planning, teams can more efficiently finalize their plans and ROAM the risks using Metronome.  Speaking of risks, visual representations of Dependency identification is one of Metronome’s KEY and UNIQUE differentiators!  Teams can very quickly and easily track dependencies between Stories and Features or between two Features.  As you can see below, Dependencies are indicated by a red line. Teams can easily identify Risks and Impediments and ROAM the risks using Metronome.

PI Planning - ROAM the Risks

In summary, Metronome enables:

  • Real-time synchronization across program boards
  • Dynamic collaboration between teams
  • Portability of information creation
  • Progress and dependencies tracking across teams
  • Story board update creation: these can be carried over to the program board
  • Enhanced ability to conduct SAFe ceremonies with confidence: Iteration Planning, Daily Scrum, Retro, Scrum of Scrum and Inspect & Adapt
  • Increased ability to visualize progress using graphs and charts and
  • Virtual PI Planning on your terms, with your resources, where and when you need to get it DONE!