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At the end of PI Planning, after dependencies are resolved and risks are addressed, a confidence vote is taken. What is the default method used to vote?

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  1. A vote by the team then a vote of every person for the train
  2. A single vote by every person for the train
  3. A vote by the team normalized for the train
  4. A vote by every person then normalized the train

The Correct Answer is

B. A single vote by every person for the train


At the end of Program Increment (PI) Planning in the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), after dependencies are resolved and risks are addressed, a confidence vote is taken to gauge the teams’ confidence in achieving the PI objectives. The default method used for this vote is a single vote by every person for the train.

How the Confidence Vote Works?

  • Fist of Five: The common method used for the confidence vote is the “Fist of Five” technique. In this method, each participant votes on their confidence level regarding the ART’s ability to meet its objectives for the upcoming PI.

  • Voting Scale:
    • 5 fingers mean full confidence,
    • 4 fingers signify high confidence with minor concerns,
    • 3 fingers indicate neutrality or uncertainty,
    • 2 fingers express serious concerns,
    • 1 finger or a closed fist signals a lack of confidence and the belief that objectives cannot be achieved without significant changes.

  • Individual Participation: Each individual on the ART, including team members, Product Owners, Scrum Masters, and other stakeholders, participates in this vote. This ensures that the vote reflects a broad perspective from across the ART.

  • Result Analysis and Actions:
    • If the vote shows high confidence (typically an average of 3 fingers or above), the plan is considered viable, and the ART proceeds with the execution phase.

    • If the vote reveals low confidence (averages below 3), it indicates that there are still significant concerns or risks that need to be addressed. In such cases, additional discussion, problem-solving, and possibly revisiting certain aspects of the plan are required.

The confidence vote is a crucial part of the PI Planning process as it provides a quick and visual gauge of the collective confidence in the plan’s success. It encourages transparency, gives everyone a voice, and ensures that any lingering concerns are addressed before moving forward. This practice aligns with the SAFe principles of alignment, built-in quality, and transparency, supporting a collaborative and adaptive planning process.

The confidence vote, conducted at the end of the Program Increment (PI) Planning event within the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), is a critical mechanism designed to ensure team alignment and commitment towards the PI objectives. This process embodies the principles of Lean-Agile leadership, transparency, and team empowerment. Let’s delve into the deeper details of this practice, its significance, and how it facilitates a collaborative and adaptive planning environment.

Purpose and Significance

  • Team Alignment and Commitment: The confidence vote serves as a final check-in with all participants to ensure there is a collective understanding and agreement on the plan’s feasibility and the team’s ability to execute it.

  • Identify and Address Remaining Concerns: It provides an opportunity to surface any unresolved concerns or risks that might impede the achievement of the PI objectives. This is crucial for fostering an environment where issues can be openly discussed and resolved.

  • Empowerment and Voice to All Members: By involving every individual in the confidence vote, SAFe promotes inclusivity and ensures that every team member, regardless of their role, has a voice in the decision-making process. This enhances the sense of ownership and commitment across the ART.

The Process of Confidence Voting

  • Preparation: Prior to the vote, teams resolve dependencies and address identified risks as much as possible. This might involve collaborative discussions, adjustments to plans, and risk mitigation strategies.

  • Conducting the Vote: The “Fist of Five” technique is typically used. Participants are asked to show many fingers to represent their level of confidence in the plan.

  • Analysis and Response:
    • High Confidence (3-5): If the average vote indicates high confidence, the plan moves forward to execution. This signals a strong alignment and readiness across the teams.

    • Low Confidence (1-2): A low confidence score triggers a reevaluation of the plan. Teams discuss the reasons for low scores and work collaboratively to address the underlying issues, which may involve making adjustments to the objectives, scope, or risk mitigation plans.

After the Vote

  • Action on Feedback: The immediate action following a low confidence vote is critical. Leaders and teams must work together to address the concerns raised, ensuring that all members feel heard and that their concerns are taken seriously.

  • Documentation and Communication: Adjustments made as a result of the vote are documented and communicated across the ART. This ensures that everyone is aware of the changes and the reasons behind them.

  • Building Trust and Transparency: The confidence vote, and the actions taken in response to it, build trust within the team. It demonstrates that leadership values the input and concerns of team members and is committed to addressing them.

Impact on Agile Maturity

  • Continuous Improvement: Over time, the confidence vote and the processes surrounding it contribute to the continuous improvement of planning and execution practices within the ART.

  • Culture of Openness and Honesty: Regularly conducting confidence votes fosters a culture where openness, honesty, and constructive feedback are valued. This is fundamental to the success of Agile and Lean practices.

The confidence vote encapsulates the essence of Agile and SAFe principles by promoting team empowerment, alignment, and a commitment to quality and continuous improvement. By ensuring that all voices are heard and that plans are adaptable based on collective confidence and feedback, the ART is better positioned to navigate the complexities of delivering value in a fast-paced and ever-changing environment.

Other Leading SAFe 6.0 Question – Which statement is true about a Value Stream that successfully uses DevOps?

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