Confidence Vote: The Whole Train Votes

I was recently coaching an Agile Release Train where when they were doing the confidence vote during PI Planning the managers sat around a table and had the teams each sequentially vote on the confidence in their plans.

The confidence vote in PI Planning is to capture the entire Agile Release Train’s confidence in the plan. Not just the confidence of the teams with their own individual team plans or just the teams’ confidence in each others plans but the entire Agile Release Train. This means everybody on the train votes and gets equal say in the matter.

In order to do this effectively (without undue influence), the entire train should do the confidence vote at the same time.

What happens if you only give a confidence in your own team’s plan? You will not be focused on the common goal of the Agile Release Train. There will be pockets of accountability. Teammates won’t hold other teams accountable for creating realistic plans because they, frankly, won’t care. As long as their plan is good and they get what they need, that’s all that matters. This means there will be weakness in dependency identification, a high likelihood of mis-prioritization and sequencing of work, and minimal communication / effort to understand the plans of other teams.

How can you be confident in the entire team meeting their objectives if you don’t understand what the other teams on the train are going to do or what their plan is or how their plan aligns with your team’s plan. The confidence vote, as one combined team is what drives this home and acts as an accountability check in the minds of each and every member of the team.


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