Before you create a Work Board, it is important to understand the different levels of SAFe® that you can define and configure in SwiftEASe. Each of your boards in SwiftEASe represents one of the SAFe® levels. They are configured to give you out-of-the-box artifacts like templates, value-streams and card types as per the SAFe® 4.0,  SAFe® 4.5, or  SAFe® 4.6 guidance.

In compliance with SAFe® 4.5/4.6, if you want Essential SAFe® configuration then your top-level board will correspond to SAFe® Program level. If you want Large Solution SAFe® configuration, then your top board will correspond to SAFe® Solution level. if you want Full or Portfolio level SAFe® configuration, then your top-level board will correspond to SAFe® Portfolio level.

Portfolio level Work Board

In SwiftEASe, the Portfolio level Work Board will always be a Top level Board.

Key features of Portfolio Board:

Templates:  There are two templates available in the Portfolio board: SAFe® 4.5/4.6 Portfolio Level and SAFe® 4.0. Based on your requirement, you can select any of them while creating your Portfolio Board.

These templates come with an out-of-the-box definition of the Vale Stream as per SAFe® 4.5/4.6 or SAFe® 4.0 guidance. However, you have the option to modify and keep refining the Value Stream as your Work Boards highlight issues or constraints.

Want to know more about creating a board? See this information on creating a Work Board.

Card Types: SwiftEASe comes with pre-configured Card types that correspond to each of the SAFe® levels. At the portfolio level, by default, following card types are available:

Theme: It denotes the specific business objective that associates a portfolio to the strategy of the enterprise. The Theme card type provides business context for decision-making and works as a source for vision, budget, and backlogs.

Epic: It represents the solution development initiative that might require analysis, the definition of a Minimum Viable Product (MVP), and financial approval prior to implementation.

Enabler Epic: It represents the architectural runway to support future business functionality as defined in the Epic.

Note: Although it is recommended to use the above card types at the Portfolio level, you still can enable other card types by selecting them on the Board Editor > Configure Cards page.

Value Stream: As defined by SAFe®, it is a workflow that an organization uses to build solutions that provide a continuous flow of value to a customer. The value stream in SwiftEASe is also known as Column. SwiftEASe value streams can model complex workflow depending on the value stream of your work items OR other business rules.

By default, there are two value streams or lanes at the portfolio level Work Board. Both of these bring an extreme power of visualization to you:

Theme Portfolio: This is a special type of a lane on the Work Board, called “Portfolio” lane. The horizontal position of cards in the lane visually communicate the % progress of these Themes based on the completion of its child cards at the Portfolio Kanban lane. This status is real time and is reflected as soon as the child cards are completed. The progression of the parent cards such as Theme makes it easy for stakeholders to track the progress of crucial Portfolio level initiatives.

Portfolio Kanban: Portfolio Kanban contains the child cards that are linked to the parent Theme cards in the Theme Portfolio board. As the cards in the Portfolio Kanban lane moves from left to right (initiation to completion), the parent card in the Theme Portfolio also moves in the same direction.

Tracking Parent Card Using Theme Portfolio Lane

The Parent card % progress is based on the child cards’ completion status. Child cards can be on the same board or on different multiple boards, in any type of a Lane with their own specific workflow/ value stream. Accordingly,

If all child cards of parent are in their respective Ready columns, the parent card in the portfolio is also in the Ready column of the Portfolio Lane.
When even one child card moves from its Ready column to any next stage, the Parent Card will move to the 0% progress stage of the In-Progress column of the Portfolio Lane.
When a Child card reaches the “Completed” column of its lane, the % completion of the parent is computed based on the formula –
(# of child cards in “Completed” state)/ (total # of child cards for the parent) Accordingly, the parent card moves to the appropriate % level in the In-Progress column of the Portfolio Lane.

Note: Since parent cards in portfolio lanes move forward automatically based on their children cards completion, they cannot be manually dragged forward or backward like cards in ordinary lanes.

Solution level Work Board

The Solution level in SAFe® is “is meant for enterprises that face the biggest challenges—building large-scale solutions that are beyond the scope of a single ART to develop.”

The solution level Work Board in SwiftEASe, which broadly reflects the SAFe® large Solution level, focuses on the lean-agile way of managing solution-level artifacts using the visual Work Board. The visual board, card types, backlog board, WIP limit and other features at this level help a Solution Train Engineer or a Solution Architect coordinate multiple ARTs and execute the necessary governance.

The solution Work Board can have Portfolio Work Board as its parent and Program Work Board as its child.

Key features of Solution Board:

Templates: There are two templates available in the Solution board: SAFe® 4.5/4.6 and SAFe® 4.0. Based on your requirement, you can select any of them while creating your Solution Board.

Card Types: SwiftEASe comes with pre-configured Card types that correspond to each of the SAFe® levels. At the solution level, by default, following card types are available:

Capability: The “Capability” card type captures the high level solution that typically spans across multiple ARTs and can further be broken down into several features at the Program level.
Enabler Capability: Like any other capabilities at various other levels, Enabler Capability also works as an “architectural runway” to fulfill business functionality as defined and captured in the Capability card type.

Note: Although it is recommended to use the above card types at the Solution level, but you still can enable other card types by selecting them on the Board Editor > Configure Cards page.

Value Stream (Lane): The value-stream or Lane at the Solution level is generally built with columns which represent certain stages like Funnel, Analysis and so on. You can create Capability and Enabler Capability cards on the Solution Work Board and move them from left to right as they progress through the workflow stages.

Program Level Work Board

Program level is at the core of SAFe® where “where Agile teams, key stakeholders, and other resources are dedicated to an important, ongoing solution mission, using a construct called the Agile Release Train (ART)”.

The Program Work Board ideally captures Features and Enabler Feature cards that typically fulfills a stakeholder need. The Work Board at Program level captures the entire workflow from ideation to analysis, implementation, and release.

The Program Work Board can have Solutions Work Board as its parent and Team Work Board as its child.

Key features of Program Board:

Templates: There are two templates available in the Program board: SAFe® 4.5/4.6 and SAFe® 4.0. Based on your requirement, you can select any of them while creating your Solution Board.

These templates come with an out-of-the-box definition of the Vale Stream as per SAFe® 4.5/4.6 or SAFe® 4.0 guidance. However, you have the option to modify and keep refining the Value Stream as your Work Boards highlight issues or constraints.

Want to know more about creating a board? See this information on creating a Work Board.

Card Types: SwiftEASe comes with pre-configured Card types that correspond to each of the SAFe® levels. At the Program level, by default, following card types are available:

Feature: It denotes the user functionality that is decomposed from a Capability at the Solution level. A Feature card may have benefits hypothesis and acceptance criteria and can further be split into smaller chunks of work, better known as User Story.
Enabler Feature: It captures technical infrastructure that is associated with Feature card and needs to be fulfilled first.

Note: Although it is recommended to use the above card types at the Program level, you still can enable other card types by selecting them on the Board Editor > Configure Cards page.

Team Level Work Board

The Team Level Work Board is used by the Agile team for defining, building and testing User Stories and aligning with the other teams to deliver a Feature via a common iteration cadence like Sprints.

Using the Team level Work Board teams can track each and every User Stories associated with some Features, and can further drill down to every details of the User Story card like the sub-tasks, Flags and Voting options on the card, comments and attachments and card operations. So, all these options help the teams track and monitor the cadence of the work and resolve any bottleneck.

Key features of Team Board:

Templates: There are two templates available in the Team board: SAFe® 4.5/4.6 and SAFe® 4.0. Based on your requirement, you can select any of them while creating your Solution Board.

Want to know more about creating a board? See this information on creating a Work Board.Card Types: SwiftEASe comes with pre-configured Card types that correspond to each of the SAFe® levels. At the Team level, by default, following card types are available:

  • User Story: Interpretation of the customer’s requirement at the Team level which details the acceptance criteria and ultimately shapes into a shippable portion of a feature.
  • Technical Story: It’s a technical enabler which acts as a predecessor for a User Story.
  • Issue: It’s a potential blocker to the progress of a User Story.
  • Defect: A development issue found in the User Story after it is delivered.

Note: Although it is recommended to use the above card types at the Program level, you still can enable other card types by selecting them on the Board Editor > Configure Cards page.

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