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No Bad Questions About Project Management

Definition of Big room planning

What is big room planning?

This deep dive will be helpful for those who want to get their own virtual Big Room Planning off the ground and need guidance.

What is big room planning

Big room planning (BRP), also known as Agile release planning or PI planning, is a collaborative approach in Agile methodologies. It gathers cross-functional teams to plan and align their work for a specific period, fostering transparency and collective ownership, particularly in SAFe (Scaled Agile Framework). This synchronized planning ensures multiple Agile teams work harmoniously towards shared objectives, breaking down silos and promoting a culture of continuous delivery.

Why use big room planning

Here are some reasons why organizations adopt BRP:

Collaboration. BRP cultivates teamwork and alignment among cross-functional teams, fostering open communication.  

Transparency. The approach includes a wide array of specialists in the planning process to ensure awareness of goals and dependencies and cultivate a shared project understanding.

Alignment. BRP synchronizes multiple Agile teams toward a common vision, identifying and resolving conflicts early in planning.

Efficiency. Big room planning facilitates resource allocation and task prioritization, minimizing miscommunication risks for enhanced development efficiency.

Ownership and buy-in. The strategy of involving different teams promotes commitment and accountability, as team members actively engage in planning.

Adaptability. BRP allows teams to quickly adapt to changes, addressing challenges promptly during the planning session.

Continuous improvement. This approach also provides a structured forum for reflection and learning, fostering a culture of continuous improvement for future iterations.

How to use big room planning

To maximize the benefits of BRP, take the following steps:

Preparation

  • Define goals, objectives, and initiatives beforehand.
  • Share necessary information with participants in advance for productive discussions.

Facilitation

  • Appoint a skilled facilitator to guide the session effectively.
  • Ensure inclusive discussions, focused conversations, and collaborative decision-making.

Time-boxed sessions

  • Set time limits for BRP sessions, promoting efficiency and prioritized discussions.
  • Tailor session duration based on the scale of planning.

Visualize the plan

  • Use visual aids such as online whiteboards or digital tools.
  • Create a visual plan representation to enhance understanding, identify dependencies, and facilitate collaboration.

Key Takeaways

  • BRP is a collaborative approach within Agile methodologies that brings cross-functional teams together for synchronized planning in frameworks like SAFe.
  • Facilitation enables effective coordination of 100 or more participants, fostering intra-team and inter-team planning and providing an overview of activities and dependencies.
  • To effectively utilize BRP, predefine goals, objectives, and initiatives, appoint a skilled facilitator for guidance, enforce time limits for efficiency in tailored sessions, and employ visual aids to enhance plan representation and foster understanding and collaboration.