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Team Kanban in SAFe

Updated: Jul 3, 2023

“If you wish to create a sea, don’t beat up folks together to assemble wood and don’t allocate them jobs and work, but rather teach them to yearn for the endless magnitude of the sea.”

team kanban

Kanban team is a highly specialized team that is most helpful in these competitive and agile businesses, It is the method that guides the team in ensuring the workflow value by

  • Visualizing workflow

  • Limiting work in the process

  • Managing flow

  • Making explicit policies

  • Creating feedback loops

  • Continuously improving processes

The Kanban team is one of the elements of the Kanban system. The Kanban system is applicable on different levels such as portfolios, large solutions, and essential of SAFe for various reasons. It is more of a pull-the-work system that pushes the work system. That is, in the Kanban system is introduced where a member or team pulls the work when they are sure of their capabilities rather than work being pushed on the team by higher management. Here in this article, we will be discussing the team kanban details and how the kanban system well suits the agile team.

Team Kanban supports the

  • Alignment

  • Dependency management

  • Fast and integration-based learning cycles

  • There are many aspects to introducing Kanban in a team

There are many interpretations of how to apply Kanban in development teams. Some of the primary aspects include:

  • The system contains a sequence of states that describe the workflow

  • Advancement of items is followed by visualizing work

  • Teams settle on specific WIP limits for each situation and modify them when required to improve flow.

  • Policies are implemented to specify the administration of work

  • Classes of service are used to prioritize the work on the basis of the cost of delay

Visualizing Stream and Limiting WIP

Visualizing Stream

At the start, a team develops an approximate current workflow and puts some work in process limits in the initial state. The Kanban board of the team at the initial level captures the workstream considering analyzing, reviewing, building, integrating, and testing. For managing flow variability in a better way buffers can also be created. In general two buffers are created naming, ‘in process’ and ‘ready’ these are placed before review and the other in front of integration and test. As Review might require an external expert on the subject matter whose availability is uneven. Whereas, integration and test share test fixture and resources are required. Integration and testing are performed by the same members and at the same infrastructure, they are treated as a single state.

Once the initial stage is crossed team goes through various obstacles but if the workstream is smooth team goes for the process update or reduces WIP limits till the workflow state is viewed at the extreme ends of famished or burdened.

Measuring Flow


The Kanban team measures the flow. The objectives by which team Kanban measures flow are average lead time, work in progress, and through the understanding process and improve flow. This is generally, represented through a cumulative flow diagram. The diagram expresses the quantity of work in the given state showing arrival, departure, and time quantity in the state. Work items are always dated while entering and completing the kanban.

A cumulative flow diagram provides an important visualization of flow variations. It is the finest example of objective measures that ease persistent improvement for Kanban teams. As the saying goes “you measure the dimensions of the achievement by measuring the hurdle you had to conquer to succeed in your goals”.

Improving Flow

Kanban improving flow

The team also needs to manage dependencies and alignment with the milestones, in kanban this is obtained with the concept ‘classes of service’. This concept helps to optimize the execution of backlog items by differentiating the backlog item based on Cost of Delay(COD). Tasks have execution policies as described below:

  • Standard- Represent Baseline class of service that is appropriate to work substances that do not belong to the other two categories. Most of the items in the backlog come in this category. COD in these items means that the value can only be achieved after delivery and doesn’t have a specific time limit. These backlog items are linear.

  • Fixed Date- It involves the delivery of items on or before the assigned date. These backlog items are nonlinear and sensitive to even minor changes in dates.

  • Expedite- Items in this involve immediate attention as they have improper COD. They are involved in development at any stage. As these items are high alerts there is generally a single item in this category in a system.

Thinking of it as hard to accomplish, then remember, “it’s not necessary to see the complete staircase but, hardest is to take the first step”. It seems hard to implement but is a simple method to obtain flexibility and continuous delivery by reporting performance optimization and providing important updating on the backlog.

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 organizations 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 and move from concept to cash in the shortest sustainable lead time by adopting a human-centric approach to business agility. Embracing the change is in our DNA. Things that keep us apart are Quicker and Seamless execution with an End-to-end gamut of services. Our Global presence and Stellar Track Record give us an edge over our competitors.

Connect with us at to learn about SAFe and SAFe Implementation. Write to us at for any agile training or consulting needs. We are always looking for competent agile trainers as well. So if you are a good trainer or want to become one, do get in touch with us to that we can learn, grow and achieve together



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