Blog: A Collaborative Triumph: Reflecting on Our First Ever PI Planning!

Rob Warner shares the latest update in our UKSBS agile journey

For those new to the world of Agile, PI (Planning Interval, formerly known as Program Increment) Planning is a collaborative event where cross-functional teams get together to plan their work for the upcoming quarter and: 

  • Define our Program vision and objectives: What is the PI goal and wider organisational strategy?
  • Break down goals into actionable features: How will we get there?
  • Identify dependencies and collaboration points: Who needs to work together to make it happen?
  • Align team capacity and commitments: Can we realistically achieve what we've set out to do based on the team availability?
  • Build a shared understanding and excitement: Get everyone on the same page and motivated!
PI Planning

The energy was buzzing, the ideas flowed freely, and the spirit of collaboration filled the room. That's how you could describe our first-ever PI planning event, a milestone marking our exciting journey into the world of Business Agility. This wasn't just about ticking boxes; it was about unlocking the potential of our diverse team and

Visualising a clear plan for the next three months

Our reps from across our business were in the room from the digital expertise from forms, Office Productivity, OKTA, ITSM, Webmethods and Connect to the engineering prowess of AWS, End User Devices, Apps and Networks, the room was a melting pot of talent.

Joining them were the strategic minds of our own CDIO, David Walder and and my Lean Agile Centre of Excellence colleagues, along with representatives from Architecture, Finance functional and Project Management ensuring assorted perspectives were heard. This symphony of diverse voices created a rich tapestry of ideas and solutions.

The event kicked off with a bang, thanks to the insightful leadership of David Walder, CDIO, and me, Rob Warner, Head of Lace. Our opening remarks aimed to lay the foundation for a successful and collaborative day, setting the context and objectives that guided the journey.

David emphasized the importance of PI planning as a crucial step in aligning our individual efforts with the broader vision. His opening remarks served as a compass, ensuring everyone was headed in the same direction. And our outcomes were clear.

My role? to delve  deeper into the specific objectives for the PI planning day.

I outlined the key outcomes we aimed to achieve, such as:

  • Defining clear and measurable PI objectives
  • Identifying dependencies and collaboration needs across teams
  • Developing a shared understanding of team capacity and commitments
  • Mapping and managing team and portfolio risks
  • Building excitement and motivation for the upcoming quarter


Project meeting

This was more than just planning, it was about

  • Clarity and alignment: Everyone left with a clear understanding of the bigger picture and how their individual work contributes to achieving our shared goals

  • Streamlined efficiency: Prioritising features and identifying dependencies allowed us to eliminate waste and optimise our workflows

  • Unleashing collaboration: Working across teams fostered a strong sense of community and shared responsibility, breaking down silos and promoting open communication

  • Faster value delivery: By aligning our efforts, we're confident in delivering value to our customers more quickly and effectively

  • Continuous improvement: The PI planning process itself was a learning experience, helping us refine our approach and adapt to changing needs. 


The event was immediately followed by a retrospective, recognising that there’s no time better than now to begin learning more about ourselves. Here’s a glimpse as to how the attendees found the event.

  • Collaborative thinking: Diverse perspectives led to innovative solutions and a deeper understanding of shared goals
  • Clear plan for the next 3 months: Everyone walked away with a shared understanding of priorities, dependencies, and next steps

  • Open communication: Transparent discussions fostered trust and collaboration across teams 

  • In-person experience: The face-to-face interaction facilitated stronger connections and team spirit 

  • Dependency planning: Early identification and discussion of dependencies prevented potential roadblocks

  • Positive attitude: An optimistic and engaged atmosphere fuelled productivity and creativity

  • Support from LACE: The Lean Agile Centre of Excellence provided valuable guidance and facilitation

  • Condensed day, smooth execution - despite the time constraints, the event flowed smoothly and achieved its objectives

And, without a doubt my favourite feedback of the day…

  • Better than expected! 

Let's celebrate the wins of PI planning – this is just the start! 

Team Sharing Ideas

Looking ahead

This first PI planning event was a resounding success, setting the stage for a collaborative and productive future. We're excited to build on this momentum and there is lots of room for improvements. Incorporating learnings and feedback from across the teams, we’re committed to continuously improve future PI planning events by:

  • Integrating LPM - Ensuring closer alignment between strategic priorities and operational plans
  • Extending business presence - Inviting broader stakeholder participation to deepen understanding and ownership
  • Including additional teams - bringing in functional teams, test, and Project Managers to create a truly holistic plan
  • PI planning training - providing specific training to equip teams with the knowledge and skills for successful participation
  • Clear reporting- establishing clear reporting structures and expectations for tracking progress and measuring outcomes
  • More preparation - early preparation and engagement with wider stakeholders enable better collaboration to identify and address dependencies. Preparation for the next PI has already started, giving us much more than a merely a week of preparation time we had in the first PI.
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