Remote PI Planning

SITUATION

Client engagements in a distributed world

For over 100 years, Booz Allen® has taken a bold and innovative approach to solving their clients’ most complex challenges. Booz Allen’s global team of over 27,000 professionals work with military, government, and business leaders. They partner with clients to drive large-scale transformation efforts, delivering continuous impact via cutting-edge technology, problem solving, and change management.

One such client is a large government agency in the United States, defined as a “High Impact Service Provider” because of its critical delivery to the public. The Booz Allen team works with them in various capacities, including modernizing their IT infrastructure, reducing maintenance costs, eliminating system redundancies, and improving the customer experience using human centered design.

As part of this work, they hold quarterly program increment (PI) planning workshops with 100+ people from the client’s team and nearly 200 Booz Allen employees. The goal of these Agile workshops is to identify and scope the problems they need to solve, ideate to find solutions, and collaboratively design a plan for the upcoming quarter.

CHALLENGE

How might we facilitate a remote PI planning workshop?

When COVID-19 put a freeze on business travel in 2020, the Booz Allen team was left with an unprecedented challenge. In just two weeks, they were scheduled to facilitate a PI planning workshop focused on improving their government client’s digital customer experience. Now, they needed to execute it remotely, pivoting the typically in-person activities to a virtual space. Doing this on such a tight timeline posed an enormous logistical challenge.

HERE’S WHY

  • The workshop was massive, spanning five days with 60 breakout sessions for 300+ people.
  • PI planning is highly collaborative and visual, relying on sticky notes, flipcharts, and whiteboards to communicate ideas.

To solve these challenges, Booz Allen needed a way to:

  • Collaborate remotely in real time
  • Replicate the visual aspects of PI planning in a digital environment
  • Manage the logistics of a large-scale workshop with multiple breakout sessions
  • Do all of this with 300+ participants who were brand new to remote workshops


quote icon | MURAL

The logistics were wildly complex. It was a multiday, interactive conference. If someone got lost amidst dozens of concurrent sessions, how would they reorient themselves? The goal became ease and transparency.

Nathan Lucy
Design Strategy Lead
,
Booz Allen
SOLUTION

Using MURAL for remote workshops

Booz Allen used MURAL’s collaborative workspace to digitize their entire PI planning process in just two weeks. Here’s how they did it.

Pre-PI planning and alignment

A team of design strategists and Agile facilitators collaborated to bring PI planning online. The facilitators mapped out each session and identified the digital artifacts they needed to create, and the design strategists brought them to life in MURAL. 

Remote facilitation

Booz Allen facilitators used MURAL’s Facilitation Superpowers™ to keep everyone engaged and on track. Just as they’d do in a face-to-face workshop, they were able to timebox activities, facilitate anonymous voting sessions, and control the virtual room.

Breakout rooms

Breakout sessions took the form of individual murals that allowed collaborators to communicate visually in real time. Booz Allen set up events in Eventbrite for each session, making it easy for everyone to find their way to the right mural and video call.

💡 Learn more about how Booz Allen structured their event and created an engaging, safe environment for all participants. Watch the on-demand webinar.

quote icon | MURAL

In previous in-person PI events, some team members participated remotely, which presented challenges in keeping everyone engaged equally. Using MURAL as a facilitation tool kept all participants engaged and allowed everyone in the breakout session to contribute effectively.

Christine Steinwedel
Scrum Master
,
Booz Allen
IMPACT

Results

Enterprise resilience: Booz Allen seamlessly and quickly pivoted in the face of an obstacle, demonstrating resiliency and building confidence with the client.

Remote PI planning at scale: The team executed the first virtual PI planning event, supporting over 300 attendees and 60 breakout sessions.

More efficient, effective workshops: The PI planning workshop was more inclusive, engaging, and efficient than in-person sessions.

Delivered on PI commitments: Booz Allen delivered all quarterly commitments and increased delivery by 30%.

quote icon | MURAL

When you layer on MURAL as a visual, interactive workspace, it’s a massive equalizer. Every thought, every idea, every voice can contribute to the conversation — and that’s incredibly powerful.

Julie McPherson
EVP, Digital Solutions
,
Booz Allen
TAKE ACTION

Use these templates to guide your next PI planning workshop. You can use them as is, or you can adapt them to fit your needs.

PI Planning Program Board template

Create a visual summary of the goals, features, risks, dependencies, and timelines defined in the program increment plan.


PI Planning Program Board template - Get started from template

PI Planning Team Board template

Estimate the capacity of each team to accomplish the tasks in each iteration. You'll need one per team that participates in the planning.

At Booz Allen, the facilitators for each breakout session developed their own PI session boards. If you follow suit, make sure each facilitator understands your team’s rules of engagement, roles and responsibilities, and guidelines for creating a PI session board.

PI Planning Team Board template - Get started from blank template

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