In a rapidly-scaling software organization, working across an increasing number of teams, features, and products can quickly lead to misalignment, poor focus, and costly mistakes. Furthermore, it is not easy to introduce the concept of effective, scaled release planning to teams that thrive on minimal processes.

In this talk, I discuss Opower’s lean release planning process, which fuses the best techniques from SAFe’s release planning, lean concepts, and our own special innovations to align all necessary parties, but keep planning at scale to the essentials. This technique incorporates iterative planning, a planning offsite, and a division-wide science fair where product and engineering teams are quickly able to understand the vision, roadmaps, and dependencies of over 25 teams in under one hour. I will discuss our planning cadence, lean-agile techniques, and how we rolled out this process to our three largest programs and over 25 teams.


Outline/Structure of the Talk


  • Introducing the Speaker (2 minutes)
  • The pain of agile at scale (audience participation activity) (5 minutes)
  • High-level introduction to the Scaled Agile Framework’s release planning (5 minutes)
  • Opower’s lean release planning process (20 minutes)
    • Iterative Program Planning
    • Quarterly Planning Offsite
    • Quarterly Roadmap Update Science Fair & Director Alignment Session
    • Lean techniques used
      • Lean canvas concept
      • Identify and raise assumptions
      • Identify metrics along with planning
      • Using lean start-up methods to change processes
  • Q&A (5 minutes)

Learning Outcome


  • Learn about the Scaled Agile Framework’s release planning.
  • Learn about a lean release planning process that allows organizations to get started with release planning without dedicating as many resources or hours to the effort.
  • Learn the specific cadence, techniques, and agendas for Opower’s release planning process, in detail.

Target Audience

Lean-agile program and portfolio planners who are responsible for developing processes and/or collaborating across teams, programs, or divisions, such as Agile Program Managers, Release Train Engineers, Portfolio Managers and Directors.


schedule Submitted 5 years ago