How ITCE’s Team Practices Scaled Agile

Last summer we told you how we got out of the office and paused our daily work for so we could devote wholly to the planning of the second half of 2019.

Now take a peek behind the scenes at the planning we traditionally have at the beginning of the year when we review the strategy for the whole year and ensure that every member of the team is familiar with it. That includes everything from our product strategy for the year, improvements in our training and consulting practices to the wellness metrics we will set for the team.

Inspired by the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe®) and its core, the practice of Program Increment (PI) planning, here is how we at ITCE plan.

ITCE’s Under the Stars Planning

We follow SAFe’s PI Planning best practices (you can read more here) quite strictly as we apply them at customer projects and see them work. However, we have come up with some adaptations that work for us and the size of our team and our customers, partners and friends ask us quite often on how we do it, so if we have to summarize how our planning looks like, let us mention these 4 components:

The Team

We come together as a large team to:

  • Align our understanding of the vision for the next 6 and 12 months;
  • Make sure everyone hears the same information, has the opportunity to ask questions, debate and even challenge the goals set for the upcoming period;
  • Let everyone think where they can contribute best by taking into account their role in the organization and the vision.

The Circles

This is the time where we break into smaller teams and we go into greater detail of planning. During the breakout session, the smaller teams discuss their capacity for the upcoming period of time (in our case 6 months), they list and structure the backlog items, their prioritization and a draft plan which they will share with the whole team at the end of the PI Planning.

The Boards

This is where the power of visualization and our love for the 4DX methodology and Escreo walls come together.

Everything the teams come up with is first documented on the white boards, then photographed, then it gets transferred at our own ServiceNow platform and onto a wall at the back of our office where all projects are visualized under the form of 4DX scoreboards.

Every 6 months, this wall changes based on the team’s goals and the creativity that goes into visualizing them.

Curious to see the ‘In the making’ of our famous wall? Watch here:

The Fun

Every PI Planning is an occasion for the team to spend quality time outside the daily work, to think creatively, to think strategically about the future, to discuss topics of different matters and to bond. That is why even though we spend our PI Planning at our own office, we as a team manage to create a completely different experience under the very same roof where we work every day and we consider this as a next-level teambuilding event.

In order to celebrate the results of the planning and everything we have achieved as a team, we finish the second day of the Under the Stars ritual with a cooking class and a glass of wine.

In less than 6 months, we will have a retrospective and do it all over again.

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