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Implementing SAFe at the Value Stream Level

Some value streams can be realized using a single ART (for a deeper discussion, see Identifying Value Streams and ARTs). Larger value streams might require some or all of the practices, roles, and artifacts of the Value Stream Level - two of which are the Capabilities backlog item and the Value Stream Kanban Board.


SAFe 4.0 Value Stream

The LeanKit SAFe Value Stream Kanban Board follows the SAFe 4.0 Value Stream Kanban guidance pretty closely and beyond that implements the improvements introduced in the Program-level Kanban Board template to better support Pre and Post PI-Planning as well as Value Stream execution.

The main card types for this board are business and enabler capabilities. Note there are separate card types for the different enabler types. Towards the left of the board where the Backlog typically resides there is an area for the VS Epics that are used to feed the Value Stream Kanban Board. This is used for Epics that emerge at the VS level without going thru the Portfolio Kanban board first. When creating capabilities to realize such an Epic you can connect the Capability card to the Epic using the LeanKit same-board connection feature. Other Capabilities connected to Portfolio Epics should be connected to the relevant Portfolio Epic via the other-board connection capability. See here for guidance on card connections.

Example card types for Business and Enabler Capabilities are available in the template guidance lane on the board.


Value Stream Risks and Objectives

We didn’t include specific templates for managing Value Stream level Risks and Objectives as the concepts and flow are very similar to the same activities at the Program level. We recommend using the Program-level templates for this purpose with minimal modifications.


Extend to the Portfolio

While some portfolio-level work is done early on when figuring out which ARTs and Value Streams to create and fund, the typical SAFe implementation doesn’t really start to manage the portfolio until a few ARTs are under way. An alternative view offered by some Kanban thought leaders would be to actually focus on this layer as early as you can to help ARTs/VSs win by creating the right type of VSs/ARTs, letting them focus on the right amount of initiatives, and actually choosing the initiatives that would make most economic sense. Regardless of when you introduce the Portfolio level, your Portfolio Kanban Board will be key to creating an effective portfolio-level flow. See here for guidance on using card connections in order to relate your portfolio board to VS/ART boards.






Doc ID: 1193815768

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