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Kanban in SAFe

Updated: Nov 18, 2021

“Nothing in particular is hard if you divide it into small jobs”. ~ Henry Ford

It is one of the best advice to complete the goals effectively and efficiently in life as well as business. While scaling the agile it’s not only about developing but also about effectively and thoroughly completing the goals without delay and defects. In SAFe this is achieved with the help of Kanban at various levels and elements.

There is various Kanban system used in the SAFe framework which includes Portfolio, solutions, team, program kanban system. They are included in the SAFe framework to improve the flow of value through a continuous delivery pipeline. At the program and portfolio level kanban is used to refine the backlog. Whereas, at the team level it is used to felicitate the complete development process. The team which provides the foundation or is an integrator of components for other teams gets benefits of using kanban as they are dependent on the input of other teams as they are confused and uncertain about their work till sprint or events.

Kanban is more about visualizing work and workflow. In it, various workflow stages are created dividing the complete single tasks into smaller ones and preceding them from stages. It helps in assigning work themselves and avoiding extra responsibility making the process easy. Kanban also has its backlog to understand the previous backlog. In some cases, the kanban backlog may also emerge more as things get evolved with time. Let’s understand how kanban works in SAFe at different levels in brief.

Team Kanban- Team Kanban is a method for teams to facilitate the flow of values by visualizing workflow. Teams in SAFe have a choice to use different agile methods. They can use Scrum, kanban, etc. Kanban in teams helps during rapid firework nature, quickly and continuously changing priorities, and lower value of planning activities for iterations. Team kanban has workflow states and also WIP limits. For teams, kanban is more of a pull work system as per their capability rather than push work on them.

Program and Solution Kanban- Are the two approaches of visualizing and managing the flow of features and capabilities established for the continuous delivery pipeline. This system helps the ART and solution trains to match the demand to capacity on basis of WIP limit, visualizing blockage in-process state. This kanban system is operated by the product and solution management.

Portfolio Kanban- In a portfolio, Kanban is a method of visualization and management of the flow of portfolio epic. It is used from ideation through analysis, implementation, and up to completion. Portfolio Kanban helps in aligning strategy, and implementation by identifying, communicating, governing in decide on the largest planned initiative. It is operated under lean portfolio management. The stages it consists of are; Funnel, review, analyzing, portfolio backlog, implementing, and completion.

“If there is something that predicts momentum, it’s backlog, this aspect is an important one in a business that provides an opportunity to change our priorities by reviewing backlog. Kanban System also provides its backlog for its every system i.e.

  • Team backlog- It consists of user and enablers stories which are originated from the program backlog and team local context. Along with stories it also contains other things the team needs for advancing their share. Product owners are responsible for the team backlog.

  • Program and Solution Backlog- Program backlog are holding areas for the forthcoming features whereas, solution backlog is the holding area for forthcoming capabilities. The responsibility of program and solution backlog is on program management and solution management respectively.

  • Portfolio Backlog- It is the highest level of backlog in SAFe. It provides a holding area for forthcoming business and enabler epic intended to create along with developing and broad set of solutions. It consists of approved and prioritized implementation epics. Lean portfolio management (LPM) operates the portfolio backlog.

Hiding work tends to not get done or easily be forgotten makes them visible”, so it is always better to follow up our backlog and effectively move forward by completing it. Kanban is the most effective system to split the complex tasks, pin the backlog, and even manage our work process along with self-assigning work.

About Advance Agility

We, at Advance Agility, are the new-age Agile Coaching, Consulting and IT services company. We enable end-to-end Digital Transformation. Agile execution is integral to our being. We are doing SAFe implementation with small, medium and large organization across the globe. Our vision is to be the leading Agile execution player globally. To keep adding value at every process stage. We are on a mission to empower our clients, move from concept to cash in the shortest sustainable lead time by adopting human centric approach to business agility. Embracing the change is in our DNA. Things that keep us apart are Quicker and Seamless execution with End-to-end gamut of services. Our Global presence and Stellar Track Record give us an edge over our competitor.

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