Running Effective Planning Events

The program increment planning event of SAFe is the heart of SAFe in the same way the daily Scrum is the heart of Scrum. Many companies adopt this event as the core of their scaling Agile. Whether this is all of the SAFe that you do or you are running a full-blown SAFe adoption, knowing how to run a program increment planning event is key. While they can be run reasonably well by an inexperienced SPC, they can be run much better by someone who understands the Lean principles on which the planning event is based.

First, it is important to realize that the resultant plan is not as important as the collaboration and dependency management that takes place. This echoes Dwight D. Eisenhower's famous comment - "in preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable."  Another important aspect is to realize that it's really "big view planning. That is, it provides the big picture for everyone that is working together. 

Planning events can be improved in several ways: