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As part of the Introduction to Scaled Agile Framework series, this article will explain Events in SAFe and how they scale.

Events in SAFe At Essential SAFe Layer

Essential SAFe covers 2 layers the Team and ART Layer- each layer has its own event. The ART events contain the iteration events within the PI – The Planning Interval

ART Events Drive The Planning Interval

ART events drive the Planning Interval. The Planning Interval (Pl) is a timebox during which an Agile Release Train (ART) delivers incremental value. This value is in the form of working, tested software and systems. Pis are typically 8 – 12 weeks long. The most common pattern for a Pl is four development Iterations, followed by one Innovation and Planning (IP) Iteration. Each individual Iteration has its own events. The section below will describe the individual Iteration events.. This section discusses about events at the ART or PI level.

PI Planning

Planning Interval planning (PI Planning) is a two-day event. PI Planning is a cadence-based, face-to-face event that serves as the heartbeat of the Agile Release Train (ART). This event aligns all the teams on the ART to a shared mission and Vision.

In this event, everyone in the ART gets together to agree team and overall PI objectives. They also forecast which iteration the priority features on the ART backlog will be completed. As part of this event, dependencies between teams are identified and planned in. While risks are identified and either resolved, owned, accepted or mitigated.

PI planning happens during the IP iteration of last PI. For an example, for the PI 3, the PI planning will happen during IP iteration of PI 2.

ART Sync, Scrum of Scrums and PO Sync

Over the course of the PI, there are regular check in sessions for team representatives. During this event representatives discuss progress towards the PI objectives and other topics. The ART Sync is the parent ART event that combines the Product Owner (PO) Sync and Scrum of Scrums (SoS).

For large ARTs, usually ART sync is divided in two separate meetings, PO Sync and SoS

In the scrum of scrums events the RTE, scrum masters and other selected team members Join. These particpants discuss progress, impediments and inter-team dependencies. Usually the RTE acts as the meeting facilitator

In PO Sync events where product manager, product owner and other selected stakeholders join. These participants discuss progress, priorities and scope adjustment.

For smaller ARTs, the PO sync and SOS meetings can be combined into one single meeting .

System Demo

Shortly after the end of each iteration in the PI, the completed work from all of the teams is integrated into a staging environment and is demonstrated to business owners and other stakeholders. It is essential that the demonstration is of fully integrated work. This event does not replace, but is in addition to, the team’s iteration reviews.

Inspect and Adapt workshop

This event takes place right at the end of the PI dueing the IP iteration of that PI.

This event has of three parts: the PI system demo; quantitative and qualitative measurement; and the problem‑solving workshop.

  • The PI system demo is similar to the system demo, but it shows the current state of the solution. It highlights the work done throughout the whole PI, not just in the last iteration. Also, every member of ART attends this event.
  • During the quantitative and qualitative measurement part, the RTE presents ART metrics to the members of the ART.
  • In the problem-solving workshop, the teams conduct a relatively short (1-2 hours) retrospective on the PI. The focus is to identify the root causes of problems and identify actions that can address the root cause to stop the issues presenting themselves in future programme increments.

Iteration Level Events

Each iteration has the events similar to those explained in the Scrum Guide

  • Iteration Planning
  • Team Sync
  • Iteration Review/ Demo
  • Iteration Retrospective

The diagram below shows how the terms used by SAFe relate to those in the Scrum Guide

Events in SAFe at Solution Level Events

For a large solution, the cadence does not change from the ART level, it is still a Planning Interval of 8-12 weeks. At the large solution level, the solution backlog contains, capabilities of the system, rather than features or stories.

Pre- and Post-PI Planning
In order to coordinate work across multiple ARTs and also with suppliers, there is an alignment meeting both before and after the individual ART PI planning sessions. Synchronisation of the PI planning events is essential in order for the pre- and post-PI planning events to be meaningful and happen within a few days of each other.

Solution Demo
During the solution demo, the development efforts of the solution train (multiple ARTs and work from suppliers) are made visible to customers and other stakeholders. This event is a both a celebration of the work achieved in the last PI and an opportunity to gain feedback ahead of the next one. It is an opportunity for the customer and other stakeholders to influence upcoming work. During the event, capabilities are demonstrated, including any stated compliance and non-functional requirements.

Attendees usually include, customers, large solution stakeholders, representatives from each of the ART (e.g. product managers and product owners), solution management, lean portfolio management (if used) and the solution train engineer (STE), who is likely to be facilitating this event.