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7+Sins-Feature Preparation

Part 2: The Seven Deadly Sins of Feature Preparation

Many teams struggle to let go of their waterfall, silo mentality when they first transition to agile ways-of-working. In particular they shy away from collaboratively working on the definition, evolution and implementation of their backlog items insisting on up-front definition of Features and Stories, and clean handovers between the Product Owners and the Development Teams.

This is an issue that we see with all the various agile methods but which always seems to get compounded whenever teams try to scale. So what are the worst things you can do to compromise the agility of your program when using Features? In Part 2 of this series, Ian Spence defines the seven deadly sins of feature preparation, and the most wasteful practices we have seen teams adopt in an attempt to be better prepared for the PI Planning event.

Easy to Use Cards

The SAFe® principles are very powerful but our coaching and consulting experiences have shown that, as currently presented, they are far less accessible and intuitive than the Agile Manifesto and its supporting 12 Agile Principles. In line with the release of 4.5 of SAFe®, which simplifies and enhances the SAFe® big picture, we have produced a set of cards that we believe do the same for the underlying SAFe® Principles. The cards present the nine principles in a self-contained, readily accessible fashion — allowing executives, leaders, and team members to readily understand the principles and quickly assess their relevance. Download the cards today to help your teams be SAFe®.

This blog post introduces the SAFe Principle Cards produced by Ian Spence (SPCT) with help from Brian Kerr (SPC) and Brian Tucker (SPCT).

Preparing Features for PI Planning: SAFe

Part 1: The Danger of Waterfall Thinking: Just Enough, Just In Time Is Actually Very Little

Many teams struggle to let go of their waterfall, silo mentality when they first transition to agile ways-of-working. In particular they shy away from collaboratively working on the definition, evolution and implementation of their backlog items insisting on up-front definition of Features and Stories, and clean handovers between the Product Owners and the Development Teams.

This is an issue that we see with all the various agile methods but which always seems to get compounded whenever teams try to scale. In this short blog series we will look at how this tendency towards waterfall thinking can seriously hinder team’s adopting SAFe® and working with a Program Backlog full of Features. We will also provide some advice on how to get your Features Ready without succumbing to premature Story writing.

Feature Slicing

One of the key activities that will help make your SAFe program a success is the careful preparation of your Features prior to Program Increment (PI) planning. And one important part of this preparation is to slice up any of the targeted Features that are too large to be easily delivered within the PI.