By Cindy Currie, SPC5, PMI-ACP, PMP
PCI SAFe® Agile Coach and Trainer
The PCI SAFe Training Team recently delivered its fourth virtual class, our second delivery of SAFe for Government, with some important changes to the class schedule.
A New Approach to Class Scheduling
Our initial approach to this class was to hold a Tech Check and PI Planning App training on Day 1 and deliver course content on Days 2-5. However, based on participant feedback, we made the following changes for our second virtual delivery.
We scheduled the class for 5-days, 5 hours per day, from 12:00-17:00 EDT. The feedback from our initial delivery told us that participants needed more time to digest and synthesize the course content and many suggested that adding a day to the class would provide more time to do that. (For many of our participants, this course was their first introduction to SAFe and those in our initial delivery were left feeling like they were drinking from a firehose because the course is very content heavy.)
The five half-days approach continued to allow the instructors and participants to have their mornings available for their normal work and attend class in the afternoon. Instead of holding the Tech Check and PI Planning App training sessions on a single day, we held only the Tech Check on Day 1 and limited it to 45 minutes. As always, there were a few technical issues that needed to be resolved, but these were accomplished within the scheduled timeframe, so all was good. Then, we moved directly into the course content on Day 1.
Based on our new schedule, the PI Planning App training was held at the beginning of Day 3, right before the PI Planning simulation (where we use the PI Planning app), so that it was fresh in our participants’ minds and they had the opportunity to learn about SAFe, be introduced to and learn some of the SAFe concepts and terms, and have a much better general understanding of what PI Planning is prior to providing instruction on the PI Planning App. This worked much better, and the simulation went much more smoothly; a much richer experience for all.
Lengthening the class to five half-days also helped the instructors with consistent pace and flow, so that participants didn’t feel quite so overwhelmed with the content. We had time to deliver the content smoothly, fully answer participant questions, contextualize in some instances, add time to breakout room activity time boxes so that we were not rushed and participants could truly come to understand and learn from the exercises, and time to engage in rich discussions. Nearly all participants commented very positively on the approach.
What Participants are Saying
Breakouts were very effective in providing hands-on/student participation in various exercises.
Short quizzes helped point to things I missed…things I can review this evening.
The flow was good and breaks were appropriate. Really liked the breakout sessions.
The classroom instructors did a very good job explaining the material with an online setting. The breakout groups are a good way to keep everyone engaged.
The simulation was awesome! It really helped fill in those gaps I had in my knowledge and experience.
I really enjoyed the thorough discussions on questions.
In the spirit of relentless improvement, we continue with the end-of-day feedback surveys, review them promptly, and incorporate any changes that we can make for the next day of class. As one participant commented: “Feels like your fine-tuning adjustments are paying off well.”
We continue to work with Scaled Agile-provided virtual learning materials, our own judgment and experience coupled with participant feedback, and ongoing relentless improvement activities for these classes. We are now planning for our fifth remote delivery, and yes, our fourth course – SAFe for Teams 5.0 this time.