Difference Between Business Values vs Actual Business Values

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Jan 25, 2023

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The Planned Business Value is the business value of the current PI by making assumptions such as those which help in meeting and enhancing the end user's or customer's business values such that the PI objectives are met in the current PI. This employs the scoring system from 1 to 10 to evaluate the current planned business value of the current PI by the Product owners.

The Actual Business Value is the business value of the PI demo and assumptions made that the demo when realized into the product may meet the PI objectives and satisfy the end-users in the current PI. This considers the Inspect and Adapt method to derive the current actual business value from the PI demo as well as the PI objectives met for the previous PI.

Business Value - Planned

The Program Increments objectives are used by Agile teams on the agile release trains as a feedback loop that they are indeed focusing on the highest priority items first and the business is going as per the planned and delivering the objectives that are valuable to the customers and business. Learn more about the SAFe concepts and principles by undergoing SAFe Training Online at StarAgile institute.

In the Program Increments planning or the PI planning the PI objective is scored in the score of 1 to 10 and business owners assume that the business value will be delivered in case the PI objective is met as planned in the current PI. This is nothing but the Planned Business Value for that objective.

Business Value – Actual

Based on the demo of the program increments the business owners circulate the score again based on the assumption but after seeing the demo and the assumption is that this PI solution will meet the objectives and will be released and available to the real users or the customers.

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Business Value - ACTUAL Actual

The business value delivered can be evaluated after the solution is released. On the agile release trains or the SAFe contexts the PI and Inspect and Adapt is too early to make this evaluation. The previous assumptions are based on the Inspect and Adapt based on the previous values of real business delivered.

Before we proceed into the details from the table below understand the Difference between Plan Vs Actual business values in SAFe PI objectives


Planned Business Value Vs Actual Business Value Vs ACTUAL Actual Business Value

Serial #CategoriesPlanned Business ValueActual Business ValueACTUAL Actual Business Value
1DefinitionAssumptions made that the business objectives of PI are met by using the scoring system from 1 to 10 and then calculating the business valueAssumptions made for the current PI demo and from understanding how the previous PI has met evaluating the business value of the current PI.The business value of the current PI after the product is realized and also used in the next future PI.
2Assumptions made yes/noYesYesNo, but little bit subjective
3What are the assumptions?That the current PI objective is met as planned and by scoring between 1 to 10 by the product ownersAssumptions that the current PI demo will meet the business objectives of the end-users or the customersNo assumptions made
4Usage in PIUsed in current PIUsed in current PIUsed to evaluate the current business value and used in future PI
5OwnerProduct OwnersProduct OwnersProduct Owners
6AccountabilityLean/Agile Leadership teamLean/Agile Leadership teamLean/Agile Leadership team


SAFe Inspect and Adapt

You may be wondering about why the previous PI? What is the right timing to assess and get back on the ACTUAL Actual Business value? There are 2 main ways this can be done. The simplest solution is to Inspect and Adapt the PI system demo to review the Actual business value delivered in the previous PI. For example - If we are working on releasing the PI-3 then we might be using the Actual business value delivered by PI-3 in PI-4, and for the current PI-3, we may have got the actual business value of the release of the PI-2. In the PI-2 we are working and evaluating the PI-2 by the scoring method and still arriving at the actual score for the PI-3. So here we are still keeping the ACTUAL Actual Business Value of PI-3 empty.

We are not done still as we calculate the ACTUAL Actual Business Value of the PI-3. The strategy is to use the Kanban system the work done is still not considered done till we take the feedback and ACTUAL Actual business value is not calculated. Till then the job will be in the Feedback list and the work is done column. Enroll for SAFe certification online at StarAgile and learn how to create business values with real-world examples.

The question now is who is responsible for delivering the actual business value? There are many frustrations when the project team feels that the Actual Business value is less positive even though the development team would have done a wonderful job. This is because the Business owners still don't think as much real value was delivered when compared to what development teams think. This is also true when we are focusing on the real business value outcomes than the output of the project itself. The way out is that the Plan Business Value Vs Actual Business Value and ACTUAL Actual Business value is not the performance of the individuals but an indication of the performance of the whole development team including the upstream activities such as prioritizing the features and making the solution to the downstream where we sell the solution by convincing the end-users or the customers. That is the focus of lean/agile leadership must be accountable on assuming variability, evaluation of the working delivered systems and working on the improvement activities of the whole value delivery cycle, and finding whether the values are systemic and repeating or rare exceptions.

Learn from the value gap if it happens and by relentlessly improve from the trend of the organization's PI or project-specific PI by comparing the systems of business value that is Plan Business Value and Actual Business Value and the ACTUAL Actual Business Value.

Producing the value is the goal of lean and faster delivery of the value is the goal of the SAFe. Consider the Kanban Feedback feature and also consider the PI Inspect and Adapt by not only looking at the current PI but also considering the objectives of the previous PI. Register for the Agile SAFe certification at StarAgile and take your career to new heights in the field of Agile enterprises level framework.


Now that we have discussed how to evaluate business value and what are the differences between various types of evaluating business values. StarAgile is a training partner of Scaled Agile Framework Inc and conducts the SAFe agile certification training online. Register for SAFe certification training to learn more about creating business values in the organization.

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