Explore Charting Possibilities

Follow New post

Program Kanban Workflow with What-If Analysis (SAFe)

For SAFe Coaches, RTEs, and Program Managers who are seeking a program level Kanban workflow board, this PI Program Level Kanban workflow template combines Feature workflow with the ability to perform “what-if” analysis.  This can be valuable for planning an up-coming PI event and during the event if adjustments need to be made.

The basic functionality of the Program Kanban Board is fairly intuitive.  It will behave very much like a physical board – which is one of its strengths.  Plus, there are so many things that can be added or modified to fit your specific needs.  For example, I find it handy to provide a set of questions that could be asked regarding the exit criteria within a workflow.  This usually varies greatly in organizations.

How it works

During the elaboration of Features, you will add new cards to the Kanban backlog.  The cards are open text, but can also display reference links to other documents/artifacts.   Each feature object has a data window where you can add data elements.  They display a size number (story points).   You can add more feature cards by copy and paste, then edit the feature points associated with the team, along with the “above/below” status field for “what-if” analysis. 

Just as with a physical board you will need to manually drag those cards from workflow to workflow.  Also just as with a physical board, currently there are no Cumulative Flow Diagram metrics built into it. 

The exit criteria for each workflow can be stated along with any WIP limits.  This is a great visualization for both co-located as well as distributed participants.

Launch the example (view only)

Launch a new <link> (requires edit capabilities)

(There are two pages contain the working Kanban, the “explanation” page has several comments related to where the data is and how they interact to do what-if analysis.)

On the first page <click> on:

  • Analysis: This will toggle examples of questions to ask regarding the exit criteria
  • Decomposition: This will toggle examples of questions to ask regarding the exit criteria

On the explanation page <click> on:

  • Feature 325: Will toggle the story points data window behind that feature object that you will enter to establish feature size, team load, and ART load.
  • Feature 412: same
  • Feature 389: same only also shows the “Above/Below” flag that manages the color of the feature an removes/adds the feature story points to the summary ART data.
  • Summary: This will toggle the data windows (you need edit capabilities to see the formulas, but they are very Excel-ish) that are working in the background that populates the board based on the feature story points and above/below status. Unless you want other functionality – you shouldn’t need to do much.


For a more detailed description see my article in LinkedIn HERE.

Feel free to comment any questions you may have.

Dennis Jones, SPC4


Please sign in to leave a comment.