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Tips for Facilitating a Virtual Management Review and Problem Solving Meeting During PI Planning

At the end of Day 1 of PI Planning is when the Management Review and Problem Solving meeting occurs in which challenges and impediments surfaced from the Draft Plan Review are a discussed and possible plan adjustments identified. The meeting is facilitated by the Release Train Engineer (RTE) with key stakeholders that include the program troika, managers, leadership, scrum masters, product owners, and business owners. During the session, issues with scope, people, dependencies, and risks identified by Agile teams in the Draft Plan Review are reviewed, discussed and resolved.

It is recommended that the PI Planning event occur in a big room with all the teams in an Agile Release Train (ART) planning together to foster face-to-face discussions and collaboration. However, the way we work is evolving and it may not be possible to have “big room planning”. As a result, more RTEs are facing the reality of running a PI Planning with people and teams participating remotely. This presents different challenges for an RTE with keeping people actively engaged and on task while also making the whole planning experience beneficial for everyone.

Jira Align has some options that can help RTEs facilitate a Management Review and Problem Solving session virtually with remote participants. This article provides some tips for facilitating a virtual Management Review and Problem Solving meeting. In order to facilitate this meeting virtually, it is recommended that a web collaboration software such as Zoom, WebEx, or Microsoft Teams is used to share Jira Align views.

TIP #1 - Use Action Items to Drive the Discussion

In my article, Presenting PI Planning Draft and Final Plan Reviews Virtually, Tip #5 shows how Action Items can be used to capture team planning issues (i.e. unresolved risks, uncommitted dependencies, etc.) identified by Agile teams in the Draft Plan Review. The RTE can use the Action Item Report to review each action item with the stakeholders in the Management Review meeting. In each action item, the RTE can capture decisions and plan adjustments made by the management team in the Notes and can update the Status to Closed when it has been resolved. The Action Items Report can be use by the RTE for reviewing plan adjustments with the ART at the beginning of Day 2. Action items can also be used to capture key decisions in the Management Review meeting that arise after reviewing risks, dependencies or committed/uncommitted features to be reviewed in the Plan Adjustments on Day 2.

Action Item Report

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TIP #2 - Use Risk ROAM Report to Review and Address Risks

During the Management Review meeting, it may be necessary to review the risks identified by Agile teams during the Draft Plan Review to ensure they are appropriately actioned and addressed or to get more information related to open action items. The Risk ROAM Report provides a good view of the open risks that have been identified in the team breakouts. Additionally, RTEs can use the Risk ROAM Report to confirm with the participants in the Management Review if risks have been properly ROAM’d (Resolved, Owned, Accepted, Mitigated) or if the management action is required. Decisions and notes on Consequence, Resolution Status, Contingency, and Mitigation can be captured on the Risk details for teams to reference.

Tom O’Connor’s article Creating Team Risks in Jira Align provides good tips on how to associate risks to teams in Jira Align which makes it easier to identify them on the Risk ROAM Report.

Risk ROAM Report

 

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Risk Details - Consequence, Contingency, Mitigation, Resolution Status

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TIP #3 - Use the Dependency Map - Wheel View to Quickly View Team Dependencies

It may be necessary to view a team’s dependencies during the Management Review and Problem Solving meeting to get a better understanding of a planning issue or see potential issues between teams (number of dependencies not committed and % committed). The Dependency Map - Wheel View offers a quick and easy way to view a team’s dependencies and visually see what teams they are dependent on (red lines in wheel). In addition, detailed information on a dependency can be accessed from the Dependency Map when more information is required. When using the Dependency Wheel View, make sure to turn off the Epic and Capability toggles if you only want to view dependencies related to features and programs.

 

Dependency Maps - Wheel View

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TIP#4 - Use the Program Board to Visualize Potential Planning Issues

The RTE can use the Program Board to review features have been committed and not committed by Agile teams after the first team breakout. The Program Board can visually highlight potential planning issues with features for the management team that were not raised by teams in the Draft Plan Review. This enables proactive decision making when it comes to adjusting the scope of features for teams which can be communicated as plan adjustments at the beginning of Day 2 instead of discovering that features cannot be committed in the Final Plan Review.

Program Board

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TIP#5 - Open Each Jira Align View in a Separate Browser Tab

Nothing can waste valuable time more than having to switch between Jira Align views by clicking and loading pages in a browser. A way to efficiently switch between views, is to open each Jira Align view (Action Item Report, Risk ROAM Report, Dependency Map - Wheel View and Program Board) in a separate tab in a web browser. The RTE can just jump between browser tabs instead of opening each Jira view on a single browser tab.

TIP#6 - Timebox, Timebox, Timebox,…

Any RTE that has facilitated a PI Planning knows firsthand that at the end of Day 1 everyone is ready to call it a day especially when the Management Review and Problem Solving meeting takes longer than anticipated. Even though stakeholders in the Management Review need to spend as long as necessary to address all the planning issues identified, it can be difficult to keep stakeholder engaged when facilitating the meeting virtually. When running a virtual Management Review the RTE needs to timebox discussions to ensure everyone keeps focused. One way to keep people engaged is to have everyone turn on their webcam so participants can visually see each other.

These are just some tips that show you how Jira Align can help make your virtual Management Review and Problem Solving meeting focused and effective for everyone.

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