Improving Remote PI Planning with Easy Agila Programs

Published 27 Mar 2020
by Teagan Harbridge, Product Manager


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“The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversations”

Agile Manifesto, 2001.


As true as this statement was 19 years ago and continues to be today, we face unprecedented times that have forcibly stopped large workforces from being able to communicate in-person.

Given the macroeconomic situation with COVID-19, we’ve seen international border closure and the ban of mass gatherings, forcing organisations around the globe to embrace remote work (I too, write this blog post to you from my impromptu ‘home office’).

We’re leaning on technology more than ever before to ensure effective borderless communication and to support our business as usual activities.

We’re in an extremely fortunate position, unlike so many others, where the nature of our work can be done from home. But where does that leave organisations who assemble their workforces 4-5 times a year for their PI Planning - the heartbeat of any successful SAFe implementation?

Providing a Solution for Remote PI Planning in Jira

We truly believe Easy Agile Programs has the capabilities to help teams around the world adapt to remote work without jeopardising their success or their customers’ success.

We wrote this blog post a few months back about how Easy Agile Programs + Jira can aid in the successful execution of distributed PI Planning, and we believe this rings true now more than ever.

With that said, we know there is a lot more we can do to improve the remote PI Planning experience in Easy Agile Programs. I wanted to walk you through some recent changes, and some ideas for where Programs is headed.

Digitising the SAFe Program Board

One of the ways we’re working to enhance your distributed PI Planning experience with Easy Agile Programs, is by digitising the SAFe Program Board.

We understand how important this artefact is for teams, and the job it does to highlight feature delivery dates, significant risks to be mitigated, feature dependencies amongst teams and relevant milestones.

The Program Board acts as a primary artefact and “visual radiator” during weekly Scrum of Scrum and PO/PM Meetings, and is used by RTEs to coordinate dependencies and provide visibility into the progress of impediments.

Due to the importance of the Program Board, and the current situation, we felt that taking steps to make it remotely accessible was crucial for the success of the teams relying on Easy Agile Programs.

Easy Agile Programs 2.3

Our newest release includes a host of improvements aimed at helping distributed teams build out a Program Board in Jira. Below is an overview of those improvements, and you can read the full release notes here.

Feature Level Dependencies

Many teams using Easy Agile Programs have told us that visualising their Feature level dependencies is crucial to understanding and communicating the health/status of their Program Increments. This is also one of the main jobs of the Program Board.

Using coloured lines to visualise the health of the dependency ensures that we have an at-a-glance view of significant dependencies that pose a risk to our PI.

External Dependencies

We’re also trying to help teams understand the health/status of their Program Increments more holistically by surfacing external Feature dependencies.

External dependencies in Easy Agile Programs are any dependencies that exist between Features scheduled in different Program Increments or even entirely different Programs.

Milestones

“Milestones mark specific points on the development timeline, and they can be invaluable in measuring and monitoring the product evolution and risk” -

SAFe

This release includes the ability to create milestones on the Program Roadmap.

Our existing customers can start utilising these new features by upgrading to version 2.3 now. To upgrade Easy Agile Programs, navigate to the Administration menu > Manage Apps > click the Update button next to Easy Agile Programs.

Start a free evaluation of Easy Agile Programs for Jira.

The Future of Easy Agile Programs

Here are some of the ways we’re thinking of improving Easy Agile Programs to help with distributed planning:

  • Team swimlanes on the Program Roadmap as another step to looking more like the Program Board
  • Real-time updates so that distributed planning sessions are collaborative and fluid between without needing to constantly refresh
  • Displaying PI Objectives on the Increment Overview and Team PI Objectives on Team Planning Boards
  • Exporting Program Roadmap, Increment Overview and Team Planning Boards so that they can be shared with colleagues not in Jira
  • Improvements to the UX/UI of the Increment Roadmap, particularly for our customers with large data sets

With all that said, we want to hear from you!

Are you using Easy Agile Programs to run remote PI Planning sessions? We want to hear from you and in return we’ll send you a T-Shirt 👕

  1. What are some of the difficulties you face running remote PI Planning using Easy Agile Programs?
  2. How could we improve the effectiveness of your remote planning sessions?
  3. What is the biggest gap in functionality that would help you perform more effective remote PI Planning?

Send your responses to support@easyagile.com. We’d love to hear how we can help.

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