The Ultimate Guide to Conducting a Successful PI Planning Session

Ruth Hadari
Ruth Hadari
Agile Advocate, Engineering Ops Expert
Posted on
Apr 24, 2023
Updated on
Apr 24, 2023
Table of Content

PI Planning is an integral part of any successful Agile project. It sets the stage for a productive, efficient, and collaborative Sprint Planning process that can be used to assess progress and communicate between the scrum team and stakeholders

This guide will provide you with all the steps necessary for conducting a successful PI Planning session. With this guide in hand, you'll have the tools to ensure your team has everything it needs to create high-quality deliverables and work efficiently together. 

From developing an agenda to running retrospective sessions, walking through each step will help your team identify areas of improvement and create positive momentum towards their project goals. 

What Is PI Planning?

PI Planning Meaning

PI Planning stands for Program Increment Planning. It is a technique that allows teams to plan, align and track progress all within the same session. During PI Planning, teams go through a comprehensive process of examining their current working environment and identifying areas for improvement.

What Is PI Planning in Agile

PI Planning is based on the Scrum framework, a type of Agile methodology that emphasizes collaboration between teams and stakeholders.

PI Planning is a type of Agile planning session that allows teams to create their product roadmap, plan the Sprint, and ensure alignment between team members. This process helps teams set goals, objectives, milestones, and deliverables for the next period of development in an efficient manner. 

The aim is to ensure that everyone on the team understands what needs to be done and why, in order to successfully deliver the desired outcome.

During PI Planning, teams will typically review what has been accomplished in the past, set new objectives for the next period of development and assign tasks accordingly. The session should also allow for open discussions about any challenges the team may face, and how to address them.

What Is the Ultimate Goal of the PI Planning Event?

The ultimate goal of the PI Planning event is to set a clear direction for the product and ensure that all stakeholders are on the same page when it comes to their respective roles within the project. 

By setting clear objectives, expectations, and timelines at the start of a project, everyone involved in the venture can have peace of mind knowing that everyone else is going toward an agreed-upon destination. It also helps to keep motivation levels consistent as progress is made towards completing goals. 

The PI Planning process ensures that all stakeholders come together with an understanding of each other’s needs, allowing for collaboration and efficient problem solving while keeping the end objective in sight. 

Why Is Successful PI Planning Important?

A successful PI Planning session is an essential element of Agile and Scrum. It is important for teams to understand the benefits of PI Planning so they can get the most out of their planning sessions. Here are a few reasons why successful PI Planning is important: 

1. Improved Collaboration and Communication

Successful PI Planning encourages collaboration between all members of the team, which helps everyone stay on the same page and better understand what needs to be done. This type of communication improves workflows, reduces misunderstandings, and helps ensure each member feels comfortable voicing their opinion without fear or judgment. 

2. More Focus On Achieving Goals

When teams conduct successful PI Planning, they are more focused on achieving the goals of that specific iteration. This focus allows them to better prioritize tasks and create a cohesive plan towards completion. As teams become used to working together during PI Planning sessions, progress grows faster with each session as team members understand how to work together effectively. 

3. Increased Transparency

Successful PI Planning helps promote transparency among all members of the team. Everyone is made aware of what tasks need to be done and which ones have already been completed, so everyone is on the same page regarding project status. This type of transparency helps keep members accountable and reduces confusion about who is responsible for what part of the project. 

4. Improved Project Quality and Delivery

When teams conduct successful PI Planning, the overall project quality and delivery is improved significantly. The planning session helps to ensure that all tasks are on track and that no unnecessary delays occur. 

This helps keep the project on schedule and prevents any unforeseen issues from arising during development. Additionally, successful PI Planning allows team members to identify any potential risks or problems ahead of time so they can be dealt with quickly and efficiently. 

Overall, this helps ensure the final product is of higher quality compared to what would have been achieved without successful PI Planning. 

5. Improved Team Morale and Motivation

When teams have successful PI Planning sessions, team morale and motivation are improved significantly. This is because each member of the team knows their efforts are appreciated and that their input is valued. Team members feel more connected to the project when they know their opinion matters, which in turn increases motivation towards completing tasks on time. 

Overall, successful PI Planning is important for any Agile or Scrum team as it helps teams collaborate effectively, focus on goal achievement, increase transparency, improve morale and motivation, and overall provides a clear plan with achievable goals for the iteration ahead. 

Teams should strive to make every PI Planning session successful in order to get the most out of their efforts. 

How to Conduct Successful Sprint Planning

PI Planning Step-By-Step

PI Planning is an important step in the Agile development process, and it's essential for ensuring successful Sprints. When properly planned, a PI Planning session can help teams identify and commit to deliverables for upcoming Sprints. To ensure your PI Planning sessions are successful, here are some key steps that should be taken: 

1. Create Your PI Objectives

Before you can get started with PI Planning, you'll need to establish clear objectives with measurable outcomes. This should include both individual team member goals as well as overall team goals. These objectives will serve as the basis for establishing actionable tasks during your PI Planning sessions and will ensure everyone is on the same page about what needs to be accomplished.

2. Estimate Story Points

Once you have your objectives set, it's time to estimate the story points for each task. This should involve all team members and should allow for discussion about how long certain tasks may take. The goal is to create an accurate estimation of how long it will take the team to complete each objective. This step is essential for ensuring that Sprints have realistic goals and timelines in place. 

3. Designate Resources

During this step, team members need to be assigned tasks that are within their scope of expertise and capabilities. Everyone should know who is responsible for which tasks so that everyone can clearly understand their roles and responsibilities. 

This should also involve discussions about how the workload will be distributed among team members and what tasks are within each person's capabilities. 

4. Break Down Tasks 

Breaking down tasks into manageable chunks is essential to ensure that Sprints don't become overwhelming or unrealistic. Each task should be broken down into smaller pieces so it can be completed more effectively and efficiently by team members. The goal is to create a timeline for completion and establish realistic goals that everyone can work towards together. 

5. Establish Milestones

Milestones provide teams with a sense of progress as they move through their PI Planning session. It's important to establish milestones at regular intervals so team members can check in and make sure they're staying on track. This can also help identify any areas where teams might need additional resources or support in order to complete tasks on time. 

6. Incorporate Feedback

Feedback from team members is essential for ensuring a successful PI Planning session. As tasks are completed, everyone should provide feedback about how the task went and what could be done differently next time. This will ensure that processes are constantly evolving and improving as teams move through their sprints. 

7. Review and Adapt

The last step in conducting a successful PI Planning session is to review and adapt. This should involve looking back at any goals that weren't achieved and identifying what could be done differently next time. 

It's also important to incorporate feedback from team members so that strategies can be improved for future sprints. By regularly reviewing and adapting, teams will be able to continuously improve their process and ensure successful sprints. 

By following these key steps, teams will be able to conduct successful PI Planning sessions that result in more effective Sprints. This will help make sure everyone understands their roles and responsibilities and has the resources they need to complete tasks on time.

During PI Planning Who Owns Feature Priorities

The Product Manager is the key player when it comes to feature priorities during PI Planning. Before the increment kicks off, they’ll take ownership of prioritizing the planned features for the period. They will usually have already identified what new features need to be added in order to meet customer needs and business objectives, as well as which existing ones require more attention. 

Tips for Super Effective PI Planning Events

To make sure that your PI Planning events are super effective, here are some tips you should consider: 

1. Get everyone involved: Ensuring the whole team is engaged in the event will make sure that all voices have an equal say in the outcome. They should also feel comfortable providing honest opinions about the goals being discussed so that informed decisions can be made. 

2. Set clear objectives: When setting up a PI Planning event, it’s important to have clear and measurable objectives. This will help everyone focus on what needs to be achieved during the event, making it easier for the team to plan their next steps.

3. Use a Sprint Planning template: Using a Sprint Planning template can help streamline the process and make sure that everyone is on the same page when discussing goals and tasks. Having an organized and detailed document can also help ensure that nothing gets overlooked during the event. 

4. Keep a timebox: Make sure you utilize the Sprint event planning timebox to keep the event on track by setting a specific timeline and sticking to it. This will help ensure the meeting stays focused and efficient, while still allowing for adequate discussion of the topics at hand. 

 5. Make it fun: As difficult as it might be, try to make the PI Planning event an enjoyable experience for everyone involved. This can help encourage participation and ensure that your team stays energized throughout the process. 

Following these tips will help ensure that your PI Planning events are super successful and that you get the most out of them.


Conducting a successful PI Planning session is essential for any Agile organization, allowing teams to establish a vision and set clear goals. By following the guidelines outlined in this article, you can ensure that your team’s PI Planning sessions run smoothly and are productive. 

With the help of GoRetro, you can also easily capture important decisions as they happen during these conversations.

GoRetro helps teams clarify their ideas, plan better releases and improve collective understanding by creating a space to track issues and retrospectives. Start taking advantage of GoRetro today to make sure your next PI Planning session runs seamlessly!

About the author

Ruth Hadari
Agile Advocate, Engineering Ops Expert

Highly experienced in leading multi-organizational teams, groups, in-shore as well as off-shore. The go-to person who is able to simplify the complex. An agile advocate, experienced in all common methodologies. Responsible for the entire software development lifecycle process from development, QA, DevOps, Automation to delivery including overall planning, direction, coordination, execution, implementation, control and completion. Drives execution, and communicates on status, risks, metrics, risk-mitigation and processes across R&D.

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