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Planview Customer Success Center

Agile Team Delivery

Definition

Agile Team Delivery provides Agile teams with the structure within which to deliver on their team plans; using kanban boards that match their preferred work methodology and processes.

Business Outcomes

Cross-Team Coordination​

  • We can easily visualize connections between and across teams to understand dependencies and proactively anticipate issues and mitigate risks.​

Team Execution​

  • We can customize kanban boards to reflect a team’s existing process or preferred work methodology (Scrum, Kanban, Scrumban, and so on).​

  • We can understand if planned work is tracking to completion goals and see the impact of any unplanned work, including the likelihood of achieving planned delivery dates.​

  • We can track progress and assess efficiency with Lean and Agile metrics including flow, velocity, throughput, and cycle time. These metrics can be used to enact a culture of continuous improvement by adjusting boards to reflect any required process changes.​

Team Integration​

  • We can give teams the flexibility to continue to use the Agile execution tools they  prefer or that are already tailored to support their processes.​

  • We can connect Agile teams’ tools of choice into a program or teams-of-teams board, creating visibility into the flow of work, collaboration across teams, and alignment with portfolio priorities.

Process Flow

           

Click a process step shape inside a light blue area for more information; hover for a quick view of the definition

           

Agile Team Delivery process flow.pngAgile Team Planning Deliver stories Assign stories to relevant team members Deliver cross-team dependencies

           

Team Execution Process Steps and Best Practices

The following table describes the Team Execution process steps, all of which take place Planview LeanKit.

Process Step Description
Assign stories to relevant team members Spread story assignments across the available team members based on available team members' abilities, workloads, and schedules.
Deliver stories Iterate on the work required to complete each user story.

Team Execution Best Practices

Focus on Flow and Work Completion

  • Deliver work items that have the highest business values and identify and resolve bottlenecks and remove blockers.
  • Focus on completion; a card doesn’t have value until that work is delivered. Which work on the board is closest to delivering value? Discuss this in your stand-up meetings.
  • Use the board’s filtering function to help you filter the board by dates. This helps you see any cards on the board that are due to be delivered during a specific date range. Is there a lot of work sitting on the left side of the board? Those cards need to be considered for prioritization so they can meet their delivery date.
  • Cards with the highest priority have a high business value. Use the board's Priorities filter to show those cards with a high or critical priority. From a flow perspective, what do you need to do to expedite those cards through the board so you can deliver that work as quickly as possible?
  • Identify impaired work by using the board's Blockers filter. Once identified, your team can then have a conversation about those cards and decide on a plan to resolve and remove those blockers.
  • Bottlenecks are a build-up of work within one of your process steps. You can visualize bottlenecks by implementing work in progress (WIP) limits to set the maximum amount of work that can exist in any given lane. WIP limits encourage us to finish work that's already in process before introducing more work into the system. When a WIP limit is reached, the affected lane turns red to show you where the work is backed up and you can then prioritize those cards so work can flow again.
  • You can save frequently-used filters so you can quickly access them during stand-up meetings and other conversations about how the work is progressing.
  • To easily focus on which work is being done by which resource, use a board’s filtering function to highlight cards assigned to a specific resource. This shows you not only which cards are assigned to that resource, but where each card sits within the delivery process.

               

    Filtering by resource

                

Manage Work Flow by Implementing WIP Limits

  • WIP stands for work in process or work in progress. By creating WIP limits on lanes in a kanban board, you can focus the team’s work on fewer work items and thus ensure a faster flow of business value being delivered to your customers. Stop starting work; start finishing it.
  • Implementing WIP limits puts the emphasis on the work to be done, not the people doing the work. It is more important to keep work moving through your process flow than to keep people busy. The benefits of reducing work in progress include:
    • Increasing the speed at which business value can be delivered.
    • Delivering value faster creates shorter feedback loops between you and your customers.
    • It focuses the team’s attention on shared goals and encourages collaboration for solving blockers and other impediments to completing work.
    • It creates slack in the system to allow for improvements to your process by keeping the team from being so busy getting work done that they don’t have time to stop and think about where improvements can be made. This allows time for conducting retrospectives and supporting continuous improvement activities.
  • When beginning to introduce teams to WIP limits on their boards, Planview recommends starting with a high limit that is just below the average amount of work that your teams are typically accustomed to managing. Over time, slowly reduce the limit. Use data that you generate through your boards to validate that this has the desired effect of increasing speed and predictability of value delivery.
  • While WIP limits are helpful in controlling the amount of in-progress work at any given time, the limit doesn’t represent a rule that can never be broken. Sometimes unforeseen events happen and you may find you need to go over the limits you have established, which is OK as long as it doesn’t happen frequently and so long as the team and the stakeholders of the work are aware of the impact the decision will have on the team’s ability to deliver.

To learn more about implementing WIP limits in LeanKit, see Set Work-In-Process (WIP) Limits.

Identify and Resolve Blocked Work and Bottlenecks

  • Work items (cards) that cannot currently proceed to the next process step (lane) on a board represent blocked work. In LeanKit, blocked cards—indicated by an X icon in the card's lower-right—show that a work item cannot currently proceed until it is unblocked. Because work items don’t have business value until you can deliver that work to your customers, it is important to resolve blocked cards as quickly as possible.

               

    Example of a blocked card

               

  • From a Lean perspective, blocked work represents waste and therefore, a process-improvement opportunity. By applying a continuous improvement mindset, you can consider ways to improve your process to make issues such as blocked work less likely to happen in the future.

  • Bottlenecks are often caused when you start work faster than you can finish work. Teams should work on resolving blocked cards as soon as possible—preferably before starting new work—thereby resolving potential bottlenecks in the workflow process.

  • Creating lanes for on-hold or blocked work is discouraged because it removes the ability to identify where work might be getting stuck in your process. Rather than designing blocked work into your process, focus on understanding the underlying issues that are causing work to stagnate or be blocked. Use this understanding to improve your workflow process by encouraging teams to resolve blockers quickly and understand the root causes for those blockers to help prevent them in the future.

To learn more about blocked cards in LeanKit, see Understand Blocked Work.

           

           

Cross-Team Coordination Process Steps and Best Practices

The following table describes the Cross-Team Coordination process steps, all of which take place Planview LeanKit.

Process Step Description
Deliver cross-team dependencies Coordinate with other teams if there are any dependencies, redundancies, or obstacles that could affect the completion of the features for all teams.

Cross-Team Coordination Best Practices

  • To reflect dependencies between teams, link story cards that have cross-team dependencies to related cards on other teams' boards.
  • By viewing card connections (press C on your keyboard to view connections), you can see the parent cards of cards on your board. This lets you see what other work is related to the work you are doing. Using connections as a feedback loop, you can identify associated work that has a high business value, meaning you should prioritize the related work on your board to help deliver that associated work.

           

           

Team Integration (Agile Team Tools) Process Steps and Best Practices

To learn more about integrating Agile Team Tools, see Agile Integrations

           

           

Outputs, Reports, and Analytics

Coming soon.

Outputs, Reports, and Analytics Best Practices

  • To help answer the question of which resource is working on which cards and visualize how well work is distributed across your team, you can use a board’s filtering functionality or its Assigned Users report.

               

    Click to expand or shrink

    Example of the Assigned Users report

               

           

           

More information

Enterprise One & Connected LeanKit: Supporting Agile Project Delivery in a Hybrid World - a detailed webinar over the connected use-case with real-world demos and examples of best-case use of an E1+LK connected solution.