Kanban is a lean workflow management approach that Agile teams adopt to define, oversee, and continually improve the services and products they create for clients. This technique helps the Team visualize and understand their process, optimize efficiency, and continually improve. Kanban is a flow-based system. Just as most operations exist to optimize value, Kanban’s objective is to optimize value through enhancing flow. Optimization does not always mean maximization. Instead, value optimization attempts to strike the optimal combination of efficiency, effectiveness, and reliability in completing work.
Kanban’s exceptional degree of visibility is leading it to extend to various sections of the company. Many firms now use Kanban to help them implement Lean-Agile concepts across all elements of their business, from marketing human resources, finance to legal, operations to Agile Teams, security to compliance, and so on.
Kanban systems support the backlog & flow of work at all levels of the SAFe architecture. Each represents a team’s distinct value-delivery approach as well as its existing workflow and capability.
- Work in process (WIP) limits – specify the maximum count of things that can exist in a single workflow state.
- Columns – depict a succession of phases (states) that reflect activity and together constitute the workflow of the Team.
- Cards – represent specific work, items including stories, functionalities, ability, Epics, and enablers.
- Swim lanes – combine and highlight similar work items to better define the team’s operations. Swim lanes are there to separate tasks for distinct classes of service & individual duties and cross-team interdependence.
- Policies – define how work is administered, like exit or entrance criteria for shifting a work item from a state to some other or service class rules.
Establishing a Kanban System
Developing an efficient Kanban system tailored to the demands of a given Agile team is determined by the nature of work performed (e.g., application development, processor design, hardware, marketing), the team members’ talents, and the Team’s function in the organization.
Implementing a Kanban system is best accomplished by incorporating the entire Team under the leadership and assistance of an experienced coach. The tenets listed below will assist teams in establishing and implementing Kanban.
- Begin with what you’re doing immediately.
- Accept the goal of gradual, evolutionary transformation.
- Respect the existing procedure, duties, responsibilities, and titles.
- Encourage leader behavior at all levels of your business.
The first step is crucial for building the Kanban system and requires some explanation. The Kanban Method does not necessitate any changes to the present process. Because the Team’s existing processes do not need to be modified immediately, this strategy makes implementation easier. Kanban believes in progressive, evolutionary transformation based on empirical evidence. The Team progressively improves the process. With these principles in mind, the initial design of the Kanban usually entails the six tasks listed below.
Create a flowchart for the Team
To begin, a facilitator helps the Team create an approximation of their present process. It’s critical to track where work delegates to other teams since they may be candidates for constructing buffer states to improve the workflow.
Set up the Workflow Steps
The existing workflow informs the Kanban team. Once the Team has agreed on the existing process, these phases may arrange on a Kanban board, although they may not be identical to the Team’s present flow.
Determine the Buffer states
Introduce buffer states to assist the Team’s process of managing unpredictability. Buffers reveal system bottlenecks and delays. Because each additional item of WIP incurs a cost in terms of lead time, start with a low quantity and increase it depending on observation. Reduce the buffer size by minimizing the unpredictability of the frequency of the work items.
A Kanban board clarifies the Team’s processes and policies. For example, each state’s entrance or departure regulations specify what the Team must complete before a narrative moves to the next stage.
Set initial work-in-progress restrictions
The fundamental framework of the board is complete at this point, and it is time to specify the initial WIP limitations. These constraints are based on the Team’s previous experience with their present process, and they are frequently the initial attempt to restrict the WIP at each phase to promote a quicker flow. Some states, such as ‘Funnel’ and ‘Done,’ do not require WIP restrictions.
Determine the Service Classes
Kanban service classes provide two key functions: classifying work items based on priority and establishing distinct policies for a certain work item type. The Team designs and adheres to a specific execution policy for each class to optimize flow and value.
SAFe Connected Kanban Systems
SAFe utilizes Kanban systems at all levels, including the Portfolio, Essential (ART and Team), and Large Solution. Each Kanban system has certain features in common that aid in the flow of value. For example, they might:
- Based on Work in Process (WIP) restrictions, assist in matching demand to capacity.
- By visualizing obstacles in each process state, you may assist in discovering possibilities for continuous improvement.
- Facilitate flow by establishing regulations that control the entry and departure of work items in each state.
Not all work derives from the portfolio. Smaller, local adjustments are frequently required, which may merely demand the addition of new stories, features, or competencies. These local issues route straight to the relevant Program, Team, or Solution backlogs. The sections that follow provide an overview of SAFe’s four Kanban systems.
The Team Kanban system includes user & enabler stories from the Program Backlog as well as stories that originate locally in the context of the Team. Other work items may also be included, reflecting all a team has to perform to progress their component of the system. The Team Kanban and backlog are managed and prioritized by the Product Owner (PO) or another equivalent function.
The stream of user stories and enablers often occurs in a larger context, requiring many Agile Teams and maybe the participation of ARTs inside a Solution Train to construct a solution.
Kanban Systems for Programming and Problem Solving
The Program and Solution Kanban systems help the flow of business and enable Features and Capabilities via the Continuous Delivery Pipeline. The ART and Solution Train Kanban systems are prioritized and managed by Product and Solution Management. The Lean UX process model lends itself to features such as identifying the Minimum Marketable Feature (MMF), a benefit hypothesis, and approval criteria. The MMF assists in limiting scope and investment, improving agility, and providing quick feedback. Capabilities function similarly to features. However, they are at a higher level of abstraction and help define and construct big Solutions.
Portfolio Kanban Methodology
The Portfolio Kanban is especially essential because it helps integrate strategy and execution by identifying, discussing, and managing the selection of a SAFe portfolio’s largest and most strategic activities (epics). The portfolio Kanban system, which employs the strategic portfolio review and portfolio sync events to prioritize, manage, and monitor activity, is operated by Lean Portfolio Management (LPM).
Agile training with Cognixia
The latest version of the Scaled Agile Framework, SAFe 5.1, was released in January 2020 and includes a knowledge foundation of established integrated principles, practices, and competencies. SAFe helps lean firms achieve business agility by combining lean, agile, and DevOps principles and frameworks. SAFe’s most recent version is founded on seven fundamental competencies: lean-agile leadership, Team, and technical agility, agile product delivery, enterprise solution delivery, lean portfolio management, organizational agility, and a culture of continuous learning. Scaled Agile was established on the core idea that better software and systems make the world better. SAFe 5, on the other hand, has the ambitious objective of allowing the business agility required for enterprises to compete and thrive in the digital era.
The Leading SAFe® training is designed to expose participants to the SAFe foundations and provide advice on the ideas and practices that will allow them to drive the Lean-Agile transformation confidently. The Leading SAFe training course provides vital skills for successful leadership in today’s remote & hybrid situations with teams scattered across regions. The Leading SAFe 5 training offers a better knowledge of how businesses may achieve business agility and how SAFe can be applied inside an organization. The training will concentrate on how SAFe may increase quality, employee engagement, efficiency, and time-to-market.
The Leading SAFe certification training provides you with all of the skills and information you need to help the business align around shared goals and objectives. It will also help you enhance value generation and workflow from planning to delivery. Furthermore, the SAFe Agilist training & certification program will shed light on what makes organizations more customer-centric, as well as assist participants in learning how to execute SAFe alignment & planning events, such as PI planning.
In this online SAFe certification course, you will cover the following modules –
- Introducing the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe)
- PI planning
- Embracing a Lean-Agile mindset
- Executing and releasing value
- Understanding SAFe principles
- Implementing an Agile release train
- Coordinating large value streams
- Leading the Lean-Agile enterprise
- How to thrive in the digital age with business agility
- How to establish a team and technical agility
- Build solutions with Agile product delivery
- Explore lean portfolio management
The Leading SAFe course is available to everyone, irrespective of expertise. However, it is strongly advised that persons planning to take the SAFe 5.1 Agilist certification test have the following:
- At least 5 years of expertise as a software developer, tester, business analyst, product manager, or project manager.
- Prior Scrum work experience