Big Room Planning is a technique that has become popular over recent years. As larger companies have adopted agile techniques and have looked to scale working practices, more emphasis on coordinating large numbers of teams, projects and priorities has been required.
One lesson we’ve learned over the years in Emergn is to consider why you need this practice in the first place – what outcome are you looking for?
We’ve seen examples of SAFe PI Planning used to coordinate work across hundreds of people which led to commitments being made when there was very little dependency between the different teams. It actually led to slower releases of software, products and benefits when there was no good reason. For this particular group, the approaches presented by LeSS might have been more helpful. LeSS tends to promote the idea of fewer dependencies where possible. SAFe tends to work around them (and almost admire them).
We tend to look at where we need collaboration, communication and coordination. You need coordination where dependencies exist. If there are really key dependencies that cannot be broken, consider Big Room Planning.
If you don’t need coordination of dependencies, but you need to get different stakeholders in a room to agree on priorities and figure out the best use of capacity, then Big Room Planning can be super helpful to communicate and agree on those priorities. Other ways to communicate priorities can be helpful post the planning process.
Why do you need cross-team coordination and communication? What’s the best way to achieve them for you?