I started a new series of posts where I will answer some actual problems/ideas presented in an I&A problem solving workshop as part of open space facilitation. This is the second of a few dozen that I plan on covering. If you have any comments, please, let’s learn together.
“As a member of the leadership team we need to see the portfolio roadmap with early warning signals / input for potential technical or schedule issues”
A SAFe Answer
This is a critical activity of the Lean Portfolio Management (LPfM) function (usually a team) and Epic Owner / Enterprise Architect roles in a SAFe implementation. When Full SAFe is implemented the Solution Architect, STE, role and Solution Management function would also be responsible for part of this information exchange. There are a several events/ceremonies in SAFe that support this information exchange. YMMV depending on the implementation configuration.
The first is the System Demos at the program level that are held every iteration. Next is the PI System Demo where the ART, Product Managers demonstrate the product(s) features and business value that were delivered during the PI (usually every 10-12 weeks). Once an organization has implemented Full SAFe, the large solution layer also includes a PI Solution Demo where the entire integrated solution for major product(s) (aka large) is demonstrated for a PI (or multi-PI) timebox. This is facilitated by the STE and Solution Manager roles. The PI System Demo is a scaled aggregation demo of the outcome and business value from multiple ART’s working on a value stream for the PI.
The ART sync, Scrum of scrums and POPM Sync events/ceremonies are another more frequent set of collaboration tools used to manage risks (and/or dependencies) as described in this problem. This is the reason the events are held in front of the program dependency board. For large solution SAFe, the additional ceremony known as an ART Sync brings together the RTE’s, POPMs, Solution Managers, Solution Architects, EA’s and Scrum masters for more than one coordinated ART working on a value stream.
There is a physical (possibly virtual) mechanism / tool that we use in SAFe to facilitate successful management of risk (all dependencies are risks). In SAFe, it is called the Program Dependency Board (PDB). The PDB has a physical mapping of risks as dependencies between teams and their features, milestones, risks. When large products operate at scale across hundreds of people on dozens and dozens of teams we can use the “Full configuration of SAFe” to scale the collaboration. Using full SAFe we can create “Value Stream Dependency Boards” (aka a Portfolio Dependency Board or Large Solution Dependency Board) to visualize flow and dependencies across ART’s with Epics, Capabilities added to the visualization mix.
Every SAFe portfolio has an LPM function that has three primary responsibilities: Strategy and Investment Funding, Agile Program Guidance, and Lean Governance, as shown in Figure 1. Each is described in the sections below. Figure 1. Primary responsibilities of Lean Portfolio Management
Read more at: http://www.scaledagileframework.com/lean-portfolio-management/
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PI – Program Increment
PIP – Program Increment Planning
RTE – Release Train Engineer
POPM – Product Owner/Product Manager
ART – Agile Release Train
DoD – Definition of Done
LPfM – Lean Portfolio Management
STE – Solution Train Engineer
I encourage all readers to check out the SAFe© guidance articles on the subjects before reading this article. SAFe© and Scaled Agile Framework© are registered trademarks of Scaled Agile Inc.