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Program Increment

cplace Glossary

A program increment (PI) is a time frame for development in project management. The word “Increment” comes from Latin and means “increase”. Fittingly, each increment increases the scope of the project or the number of available functions, i.e. an increase in value in the product. In Scrum, for example, an increment is the expected result of a Sprint. 

Program increments usually have a duration of eight to twelve weeks and follow a recurring pattern that typically consists of four development iterations: project planning, development, testing and adjustment (Plan, Do, Check, Adjust). 

Similar to an Iteration for an agile team, a program increment for an Agile Release Train (ART) represents a fixed period. The ART comprises the specialist personnel required for the implementation. It includes the planning, development and validation of a complete system increment, including the demonstration of progress and the opportunity for rapid feedback. Each program increment follows this fixed sequence to ensure synchronization of all teams in the ART. 

Program Increment and SAFe

Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) uses the concept of program increment as a central element in its methodology. Similar to the general understanding described above, SAFe defines a program increment as a time-bound stage in which an ART delivers incremental value in the form of working, tested software or systems. Within a program increment, the various agile teams work together within the ART to enable coordinated development and integration of features or functionalities. These time-bound iterations enable the teams to 

  • synchronize their work  
  • focus on common goals  
  • receive continuous feedback. 

This leads to higher quality and efficiency. Ultimately, the program increment facilitates the development process and contributes to the ART regularly delivering measurable added value. 

Difference between Program Increment and Sprint

Program increments take place between departments, sprints within a team. Sprints are components of program increments and last up to two or four weeks. Basically, program increments are scaled sprints at an enterprise level. 

Software solutions around SAFe

Software for Essential SAFe
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Essential SAFe

Efficient support for the basic configuration of the Scaled Agile Frameworks (SAFe) in collaborative work environments.

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