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How to track and manage program increment (PI) objectives


Now that you've refined features (work items) with Advanced Roadmaps, learned how to facilitate PI planning using Advanced Roadmaps, and you've created a sprint plan in Jira, the next step is to create and manage program increment (PI) objectives.
In the SAFe framework, PI objectives are used to track broader business needs. These objectives are different from traditional agile execution items like epics, features, stories, and tasks. Instead, PI objectives focus on a leadership view of the business benefits a team, or teams, plan to achieve. We can set the same PI objectives using Jira in a few simple steps.
The information below details the steps you need to take to create and manage team and PI objectives. You can also use the following to manage objectives for a team of team or an agile release train (ART).

Objectives should not be considered OKRs (objectives and key results). Although objectives have a lightweight value score component, they are predictions of value, not verified business benefits. Additionally, OKRs are often defined at broader levels than a team or program level, and they're measured by post-software release data collection that can demonstrate true business value.

Before following the next steps, we recommend first configuring your PI objective project and board.

How to track and manage PI objectives


During the first part of quarterly planning, a product manager or program lead usually presents planned features, and agile delivery teams pull together the highest priority work across sprints. Planning also includes projections for feature target delivery sprints. Ideally, the team will also break down features into smaller stories based on story point sizing (project time estimates and priority) and slot them into sprints to balance the workload for each agile team based on the team's planned velocity and capacity.
Agile team leads will then work with business owners to review the planned features and translate them into business objectives. Some organizations may enter the PI planning event with drafted or pre-planned objectives. Sometimes you'll have a one-to-one relationship between features and objectives, but you might also group several features into one objective.

Creating team and PI objectives

  1. In Jira, navigate to the PI objective board that you just created and select create.
    1. Select the name of the objectives project.
    2. Create the story for team level objectives and enter a summary description.
    3. Complete the remaining fields marked in red below when known:
      Create an issue1
      create an issue 2
  2. Once each agile team has drafted their team objectives for the quarter, the business owner(s) should assign a planned value score between 1 (lowest priority) and 10 (highest priority). The product owner or product manager should assist the business owner(s) with planned value scoring.

    Avoid ranking all objectives a 9 or 10 since it'll limit the benefits of prioritization.

  3. The next step is for the group to determine the feasibility of completion for each planned team objective. The group should designate each objective committed or uncommitted (a critical path or a stretch, respectively).

    Designation may require an agile team lead to discuss and negotiate with the business owner(s) and the product owner or product manager.

    planned view
  4. Once team objectives for each agile team in the program have been defined and assigned a planned value score, the business owner(s) and the product owner or product manager can work together to draft a concise set of PI objectives that summarize the team objectives. (This is a bottom-up approach. Some organizations may prepare PI objectives before the quarter instead.)

    PI objectives are typically not assigned a value score since the team objective scores will ultimately be rolled up into PI objectives.

  5. In Jira, navigate to the PI objective board and select create.
  6. Select the name of the objectives project.
  7. Create the epic for PI level objectives and enter the PI objective in epic name.
  8. Complete the remaining fields marked in red below when known.
    create issue 3

  9. Review objectives you've submitted on the kanban board (or issues list) to identify any team objectives that require you to set a parent PI objective. (Usually these are in the backlog column.)
    Kanban board
  10. Add the applicable PI objective to each team objective for the epic link. This task is typically done by the scrum master or product owner who works with the program manager or the release train engineer and the product manager.
    Epic link
  11. At the end of the quarter, following the completion of the planned work, often during a program review or retrospective event, the business owner(s) and the product owner or product manager will assign a delivered value score between 1 and 10 to each team objective.

    Avoid assigning a higher delivered value than you assigned in planned value unless it's truly earned.

    planned value 2


  • After populating the team and program objectives you created on the Confluence page in the prerequisite, review the page to ensure all objectives appear.
  • Add up the total planned value score baseline at the start of the quarter, along with the delivered value score for each committed team objective. The delivered value scores of uncommitted team objectives (stretch) may also be added, but avoid the temptation to deliver stretch objectives if the committed ones are not being completed. This work can be done manually on the page in Confluence by adding a row or via spreadsheet.
    PI Objective 2
  • Once multiple quarters of data are collected, you can generate simple line graphs to show the trend of team objective delivery vs. commitment at the value score level. This type of visual can give leadership teams a more holistic view of each team's delivery efforts and focus on the bottom line of evaluating working software use and the business benefits that were achieved. We suggest a goal of delivering 80% - 100% of planned team objectives.

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