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Role of a Scrum Master & Product Owner in Program Increment (PI) Planning Meeting

  • Agile and Scrum
  • Scaling Agile
Created on :
June 8, 2022
Updated on :
July 4, 2023

The Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) helps achieve business agility by bringing alignment in strategy and execution. The Agile Release Train (ART) serves as a hub for all people and groups working toward one objective. Multiple agile teams working in an Agile Release Train (ART) gather for PI planning once in PI.

Multiple teams in the same Agile Release Train (ART) gather periodically year-round for PI Planning meetings to align with a shared vision, discuss features, prepare the PI Plan, and discover cross-team interdependence. Scrum Master and Product Owners play a critical role in PI planning to empower Agile teams in doing their PI Planning.

Scrum Master’s Responsibilities in PI Planning Meeting

Scrum Masters are critical to the PI planning meeting’s success. They are the facilitators and coaches for their Scrum Team throughout the event.

They make it easier to prepare for PI Planning. During Team Breakout sessions, they assist the team in estimating their capacity for Iterations, finalizing Team PI Objectives, and managing the timeframe, dependencies, and ambiguities.

Scrum Master in Program Increment (PI) Planning

  • They ensure that the team has enough knowledge to plan the entire following PI. If not, they must obtain answers to all outstanding questions to plan properly.
  • They review individual leave plans and tell the team about the available capacity in all sprints so that the team can pick up the load appropriately and identify any risks.
  • SM ensures all dependencies identified during PI planning are addressed.
  • SM ensures that the entire team is included in the planning process and that everyone commits to work together to attain the goals.
  • SM ensures that all risks have been addressed. Risk should be Resolved, Owned, Accepted or Mitigated (ROAMed).
  • SM ensures the right amount of due diligence is done to achieve the objectives of Team Breakout sessions.
  • SM ensures that the team is planning to ensure Build In Quality by planning good quality development.
  • SM Works with other team’s Scrum Masters to ensure that other teams’ approach to development is well communicated to the team.
  • SM ensures that the team’s plan and approach are transparent to other teams and stakeholders.
  • SM ensures that User Stories are sized and estimated well to bring predictability in estimation and planning for PI.
  • SM ensures that Team and PO understand how to develop Committed PI Objectives and Uncommitted PI Objectives.
  • SM also works closely with Release Train Engineer (RTE) to support integrating plans at the Agile Release Train (ART) level.

What role does a Product Owner have in a PI Planning Meeting?

In the Scaled Agile Framework, the Product Owner plays a vital role in ensuring that teams are developing the right business requirements. PO collaborates extensively with product management, clients, and stakeholders to determine what is needed to achieve the business benefits from the feature. A product owner explains these features to the agile team and ensures that the team can build features incrementally by way of building user stories.

Product Owner (PO) in Program Increment (PI) Planning

The PO is involved in the program backlog refinement and PI planning preparation.. S/he reviews and gives suggestions/advice to the vision, plan and content before actually planning for the event. Not just that, the PO also  creates startup User Stories

Throughout the event, the PO is active in narrative development. PO responsibly provides sufficient explanations and insights to assist the team with narrative estimations and sequencing. Furthermore, the entire Agile team and the Product Owner work together to discuss and outline the team’s PI objectives for the forthcoming PI.

The Product Owner (PO) ensures that the development team well understands Features and Feature acceptance criteria.

  • PO leads the initiative of creating User Stories for the features. PO is expected to do this as part of the preparation for the PI Planning meeting and continues it during the Team Breakout Session.
  • PO explains the User Stories to the Team and helps estimate the User Stories in Story Points.
  • PO works with other teams’ POs to understand the boundary and dependencies of given features/user stories.
  • PO split the User Stories into small Stories to facilitate estimation and planning of User Stories.

PO Establishing PI Objectives based on Teams PI Plan by writing the business objective in the business Outcome.

  • PO facilitate the identification of Uncommitted PI Objectives
  • PO helps in prioritising work to support early business delivery and early feedback.
  • PO work closely with Business Owners to understand the Business Value assigned to PI Objectives.
  • PO owns some of the risks which are associated with requirements.

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