Do you involve business stakeholders in Program Increment (PI) planning?

Last updated by Gert Marx [SSW] about 1 month ago.See history

As you gear up for a new Program Increment (PI), your development teams are primed and ready. But there's a critical piece missing: active involvement from your business stakeholders.

Without their insights, there's a tangible risk of a disconnect, where the development efforts might not fully align with the actual business requirements. Actively involving these stakeholders in PI planning is key to ensuring that what's being built truly meets the business needs and objectives.

What is Program Increment (PI) Planning?

Program Increment (PI) planning is a cornerstone event within the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), bringing together all the players of an Agile Release Train (ART). This pivotal gathering is not just a routine meeting; it's a strategic forum. Here, team members collectively dissect and understand the priorities for the upcoming PI.

They delve into technical considerations, align on objectives, and collaboratively forge a roadmap. The goal? To ensure that everyone is marching in the same direction, equipped with a clear, cohesive plan for the journey ahead.

Benefits of Involving Business Stakeholders


Involving business stakeholders in PI planning isn't just a procedural step; it's a strategic move. By bringing these key players into the conversation, you ensure that the development work isn't just technically sound, but also perfectly aligned with the broader business objectives.

This alignment is crucial—it means that every Sprint, every line of code, contributes directly to the overarching goals of the organization, ensuring that the efforts of the Agile Release Train (ART) are not just efficient but also effective and relevant.


Bringing business stakeholders into the fold of PI planning does more than facilitate decision-making; it illuminates the path ahead. It provides crystal-clear clarity on what the business deems as priorities and articulates the specific requirements that need to be met. This clarity is invaluable. It ensures that every team member on the Agile Release Train (ART) understands not just the 'what' and the 'how' of their tasks, but more importantly, the 'why'.

Such understanding is crucial for aligning their day-to-day work with the strategic vision of the business, leading to more targeted and impactful outcomes.

Feedback Loop

Integrating business stakeholders into PI planning sets the stage for an essential component of agile methodology: a dynamic, immediate feedback loop. This connection between the development teams and the business stakeholders isn’t just about staying informed; it's about creating a responsive and adaptive environment.

It allows for real-time feedback, ensuring that any deviations from business goals can be swiftly identified and rectified. This ongoing exchange keeps the development aligned with business expectations, fostering a collaborative atmosphere where adjustments can be made quickly, enhancing both the product's relevance and its quality.

Involve business stakeholders in PI planning to align development work with business objectives.

Good Example - Involving business stakeholders in PI planning ensures that everyone is aligned and working toward the same goals.

Why Should You Involve Business Stakeholders?

Better Decision-Making

Involving business stakeholders in the planning process does more than just add more voices to the conversation; it enriches the decision-making process with critical business insights. These stakeholders bring a deep understanding of business context and priorities, ensuring that decisions aren't made in a vacuum.

Their input helps to ground the planning in real-world business needs and goals, leading to choices that are not just technically feasible but also strategically sound. This results in a planning process that is more attuned to the market realities and organizational objectives, paving the way for outcomes that resonate with both the business and its customers.

Include business stakeholders for informed decision-making.

Good Example - Business stakeholders can provide valuable insights that lead to better decisions during PI planning.

Risk Mitigation

Getting business stakeholders in on the ground floor of the planning process isn't just about ticking a box; it's a strategic move for risk mitigation. Their early involvement brings a wealth of knowledge about the market landscape, regulatory compliance, and various other business-critical factors.

This insight is invaluable for identifying potential risks early on, allowing the team to proactively address them before they escalate. By integrating this business acumen into the planning stages, the team can devise strategies that are not only innovative but also aligned with real-world constraints and requirements, thereby reducing the likelihood of costly, time-consuming issues down the line.

Engage business stakeholders for early risk identification and mitigation.

Bad Example - Excluding business stakeholders can result in overlooking important business risks and priorities.


Bringing business stakeholders into the heart of Program Increment (PI) planning is more than a procedural necessity; it's a strategic imperative. Their involvement ensures that the development work aligns seamlessly with business objectives, adding depth and context to decision-making. Beyond this, their insights are instrumental in identifying and mitigating risks early in the process.

This proactive approach to planning not only fosters a more cohesive and informed development cycle but also steers projects towards more successful, business-aligned outcomes. In essence, overlooking the role of business stakeholders in PI planning is to miss out on a critical component of achieving true business agility and effectiveness.

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