The Role of Leadership in Successful PI Planning

Ruth Hadari
Ruth Hadari
Agile Advocate, Engineering Ops Expert
Posted on
Apr 26, 2023
Updated on
Apr 30, 2023
Table of Content

Good leadership is essential for the success of a PI Planning event. The ability to effectively manage a team, inspire others to strive for excellence, and strategically plan a successful future are all skills that distinguish standout leaders from those who merely get by. 

With this in mind, it's critical to understand the role of leadership in ensuring the success of PI Planning events. 

By leveraging innovative strategies, inspiring performance reviews, and taking proactive steps towards problem solving, strong leaders can ensure their team thrives during every PI Planning session and beyond. 

In this blog post, we'll discuss how leaders can leverage their unique talents to create an atmosphere conducive for successful PI Planning events and deliver excellent results. 

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 an Agile planning session that allows teams to create their product roadmap, plan Sprints, 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.

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

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. 

Scrum Master Role in PI Planning

The Scrum Master plays a crucial role in PI Planning, as they are the facilitators and coaches for their teams throughout the entire event. 

They are responsible for preparing the team for PI Planning by providing them with necessary knowledge to plan properly and ensure that all dependencies identified during planning have been addressed. 

Furthermore, the Scrum Master ensures that everyone is involved in the process, is committed to attaining the goals set out, and that all risks have been adequately dealt with via Resolve, Owned, Accept or Mitigate (ROAM) processes. 

Additionally, they will support User Stories being accurately sized and estimated to bring predictability into estimation and planning for PI. 

Finally, it’s also important for them to work closely with other teams and stakeholders to ensure plans and approaches are clearly communicated. By doing all of this, the Scrum Master ensures that PI Planning is successful, enabling their team to reach its desired objectives. 

What Is the Scrum Masters Role in Team Breakout

The role of the Scrum Master in Team Breakout is crucial as they work with the team to finalize Team PI Objectives and manage any Sprint Planning event timebox dependencies or ambiguities that may arise during breakout sessions. 

What Are Two Common PI Planning Anti-patterns?

PI (Product Increment) Planning is an important part of any successful Scrum process. It is a critical step in the process that allows teams to plan and prioritize their development efforts, while also helping to ensure that they are producing high-quality products on time. 

Unfortunately, two common PI Planning anti-patterns that can lead to difficulty in achieving success with this process:

1) Spending too much time analyzing each story

Spending too much time analyzing each story can be detrimental to the overall process. It requires teams to spend a lot of time on details that are not necessary for a successful PI Planning session. 

This can lead to the team getting stuck in the details, resulting in a lack of creativity and diverting attention away from bigger-picture items. Additionally, it can result in longer meetings that are less productive and ultimately decrease overall efficiency. 

2) Having part-time Scrum Masters

Having part-time Scrum Masters who do not have enough time to dedicate to planning as part of the team can lead to an inadequate amount of preparation going into PI Planning sessions, which can then result in ineffective discussions or even missed opportunities for meaningful collaboration. 

It is important for teams to ensure they have adequate resources dedicated to PI Planning in order for them to succeed. 

How Does Effective Leadership Translate to Effective PI Planning?

The role of leadership in successful PI Planning is critical for sustaining value and focus for the organization. Effective leadership not only helps to ensure that the planning process is running smoothly but also provides guidance, direction and support during implementation. 

Leadership from senior management will ensure the vision and objectives are clear and communicated across all levels of the organization. Leaders must understand the need to be aAile and able to respond quickly to changes in customer needs or market conditions while still maintaining momentum with delivery commitments. 

Leadership should involve establishing a culture of trust between stakeholders, so that information can be openly shared. This enables teams to work effectively together as well as providing them with a platform for innovation when fresh ideas are needed.

Leaders must also provide an environment where communication and collaboration can flow freely, as this will help ensure that the planning process is effective.

Leadership also plays a role in providing focus to PI Planning by ensuring that teams stay on track with the agreed-upon objectives. Leaders must develop an understanding of the dependencies between tasks, so they are able to identify potential risks early on and take corrective action. 

Finally, leadership should be used to motivate and inspire individuals throughout the process to help them reach their full potential. 


Which Roles Are Part of the PI Planning?

The PI Planning event includes five key roles: Release Train Engineers, Product Managers, Product Owners, Scrum Masters and Development Teams. Each of these roles are essential to a successful PI Planning and the leadership of each is paramount in creating a successful outcome. 

What Is the Product Manager’s Role in PI Planning?

The role of the Product Manager in PI Planning is to create and communicate a compelling vision for the product. This includes highlighting prioritized features, relevant milestones and any other relevant information that will help guide team members as they plan their work. 

What Are Two Primary Responsibilities of Business Owners in PI Planning?

Business Owners play a key role in PI Planning by aligning priorities and creating the vision for the future. They are responsible for understanding and refining the strategic themes that influence ARTs and have knowledge of current enterprise, portfolio, and value stream context. Furthermore, they also drive or review the solution vision and roadmap. 


Good PI Planning requires strong leadership. Leaders must be able to assess the goals of the organization and craft strategies for reaching them in a timely manner. They need to be able to motivate their teams and ensure that everyone is working towards reaching their objectives. 

GoRetro provides teams with an intuitive platform for executing effective PI Planning processes within an Agile environment. It helps you chart your course from vision setting through execution tracking and everything in between, all while delivering insights and automation capabilities throughout the journey.

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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