Portfolio Kanban

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What is a Portfolio Kanban Board?

A Portfolio Kanban board is a visual management method used to track and manage work as it progresses through various stages of a delivery process. Portfolio Kanban boards in SAFe (Scaled Agile Framework) help organizations manage their Agile portfolio effectively, align work with strategic objectives, and maximize the delivery of value to customers.

Portfolio Kanban Board in Kiplot

Overview

The Portfolio Kanban module in Kiplot maintains two separate board views – one for Initiatives and another for Outcomes.

Below is an example of what the portfolio Kanban looks like within Kiplot, toggled on Initiatives.

You can drag and drop initiatives into different columns (stages) as they move through the delivery cycle. You can also use the kanban board to prioritise your initiatives and outcomes by dragging them up or down the list within each stage.

Portfolio Kanban on Initiatives (default Effort & RAG Status lens applied)

Filters

You can use filters on the Portfolio Kanban to refine the content displayed on your board. These filters can be stacked to allow for more specific and targeted customization of the displayed content.

On the Initiative Kanban Board, the following filters are available:

  • Team
  • Business Unit
  • Type

On the Outcome Kanban Board, the following filters are available:

  • Team
  • Business Unit
  • Status
  • Type
  • Initiative

Configuring your Kanban Board

To configure your Kanban Board you’ll need to go to the Kiplot Configuration page and navigate to the Lifecycle tab. Here you can add the stages of your delivery lifecycle and assign them to one of four categories: Idea, Analysis, Delivery and Closed. These categories are used to categorise Initiatives and Outcomes within Kiplot in the Roadmap and Capacity planning views.

If you have set up a two way integration with Jira and require these lifecycle stages to map to the workflow stages you have set up in Jira, you’ll need to make sure that the stages you add in the Configuration exactly match the stages as they are in Jira – note this is case sensitive!

Configuring your Lifecyle stages

Lenses

In addition to filters, you can use lenses to change the visual categorization of initiatives and outcomes based on different categories. Lenses can be used in conjunction with filters and help to plan and prioritise initiatives and outcomes.

Lenses available on the portfolio Kanban for Initiatives:

  • Effort & RAG Status
  • Percentage Complete
  • Type
  • Stage

Lenses available on the portfolio Kanban for Outcomes:

  • Effort & RAG Status
  • Type
  • Percentage Complete
  • Stage
  • Delivery Status
  • Planned/Unplanned
Portfolio Kanban with the Planned/Unplanned lens applied

In the view above, if I wanted to identify outcomes on my roadmap that are ready to be worked on (categorized in the ‘Ready’ stage) but are not planned yet (do not have start / end dates assigned), I would:

  1. Select the three dots at the top right of the Outcomes board
  2. Apply (tick) the Planned/Unplanned lens

I can now see that there are 2 outcomes which stand out as unplanned in the Ready stage (represented by being marked as grey and with a dash, as opposed to green).

PI Planning

We imagine the portfolio Kanban to be especially instrumental in carrying out Program Increment Planning (PI Planning) at your organization. The portfolio Kanban should be used to ensure that your outcomes are in the correct lifecycle stage, to eventually be leveraged in the Outcome Planning view for scheduling outcomes during PI Planning.

By sorting your outcomes into their relevant stages in the portfolio Kanban, we can have a clear view of which outcomes are ‘Ready’ in the Outcome Planning view. Outcomes that are ‘Ready’ should be given priority to be scheduled for the upcoming PI.

Outcome Planning page with the Stage lens applied

We recommend reading our guide on PI Planning to see this feature in action.

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