Program and Solution Kanban
Updated: Jan 12
Program and Solution Kanban in SAFe are the procedures to visualize, envisage and manage the flow of features and capabilities from end to end process through the continuous delivery pipeline. Program and solution management are responsible for the program and solution kanban system.
“Continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection”.
Kanban is a process that helps to improve in day-to-day activity and hence in your ultimate goals. If a few minutes are added daily for improvement they will provide a high-performance impact as well as continuous updating with time and upcoming challenges without extra efforts. Kanban in SAFe is used in various ways and for many reasons, which we have learned in our previous article on -Kanban in SAFe.
In this article, we will know about the details of Program and Solution Kanban while using it to scale the agile.
Kanban system helps agile release train and solution train in matching the demand to capacity based on the work in process (WIP) limit and observing bottlenecks in the processes considering it as an opportunity for improvement. For applying the Kanban system one needs to understand the lean and agile development, ways to make capacity available for fresh development, support activities, and business maintenance.
The benefits of providing Kanban in Program and solution levels are:
It increases visibility in current as well as forthcoming work providing a better workstream.
Establish alignment between ART, Solution Train, and Portfolio.
Provide continuous refinement of new values and acceptance criteria.
Maintain economic decision-making by locating new policies for pull-based mechanisms.
Adopt association through disciplines, functions, and levels.
Program Kanban assists the stream of features through a continuous delivery pipeline. Program Kanban includes the continuous cycle of exploration, integration, and deployment. Any new idea is explored with continuous exploration and then moves towards continuous integration into the system and development. As the product is developed it moves into the deployment model. Throughout this cycle, the program Kanban assists in every stage. The process states mentioned below described its flow:
1. Funnel- All the new ideas including functionality, enhancement of current work, enabler of work, etc.
2. Analyzing- Agile team with their available capacity analyzes the ideas that are aligned with the vision and backs up strategic themes. Refinement of the idea includes the strengthening of a loose idea into well-formed features containing description, business benefit hypothesis, sized in normalized story points, and acceptance criteria. WIP for this stage depends on the availability of product management, team capacity, and subject matters, etc.
3. Program Backlog- Analyzed and approved features of highest priority are in this stage. Here they are prioritized with weight shortage job first, relative to rest of backlog and expect implementation.
4. Implementing- In every PI backlog features are pulled from the program backlog and put into the implementation stage.
5. Validating- Features that are ready to get feedback is put into this stage during every iteration. Here team tests and integrated them with the rest of the system and once completed presents further to product management for its approval.
6. Deploying- When enough capacity feature is moved into the deployment stage. This occurs only when there are different stages for deployment and release.
7. Releasing- By measuring the market condition and requirement features are released into the market for partial or complete customers.
Program Epic Kanban System
“Greatest weakness lies in giving up, the shortest way to succeed is just to try one more time”.
Some Art is big to complete in a single Pi so many of the teams give it up. But that’s not the solution to be considered, so in the Kanban system, such program epics are identified and managed separately. In program Kanban epics whose estimates exceed they require the review and approval.
Program epic requires large solutions or portfolio stakeholders. The processes states are:
1. Funnel-Big program initiatives are invited to it.
2. Review- In this, the subject experts and stakeholders prioritize the WSJF and also review the epics. They confirm which ones to be moved on for more in-depth explorations.
3. Analyzing- Here the subject experts and stakeholders analyze
Improved size estimate, WSJF to other epics.
Reflect solution alternatives.
Recognize Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and Minimum Marketable Feature(MMF)
Managing Program Kanban
An ART sync event is important where the product owners and product management review the Program Kanban System and pull work based on available capacity. Here new work, prioritize of work, schedule meets after, release decisions, and deployment are discussed by participants.
Same as the Program Kanban system, the solution Kanban system follows the same structure and processes. The only difference is that the solution Kanban system is operated with capabilities and not features.
“The goal of Kanban is to bring difficulties to the surface and link them to the system.”
In every stage and process, Kanban completes it efficiently and effectively.