Flow-based planning is a popular lean methodology that maximizes a team's efficiency and eliminates bottlenecks. There are no timeboxes, task estimates, or review meetings. There is also no scrum master role—the team owns the process of how work gets done. Using measurements of queues, cycle time, and work-in-progress (WIP), the team decides how well their process is working and whether it needs adjustment. Flow, not cadence, determines a team's success.
Flow-based work includes holding a daily standup meeting to discuss recently-completed stories and prioritizing and assigning stories in progress. Instead of creating tasks, a team member takes the next item from the queue of stories.
Build a Kanban board
The central tool of flow-based work is the Kanban board. The Kanban board gives teams the option of managing pull-based, lean software development projects.
The Kanban board allows all team members, whether local or remote, to communicate and prioritize with each other.
Product backlog, time-boxed iterations and estimation are unnecessary when using a Kanban system since work is pulled into Kanban and the queue is the only work of interest. Assign defects and stories to the first Kanban state visible on your board.
Use the Portfolio Kanban board
If you have Rally Portfolio Manager (RPM), you can use the Portfolio Kanban board to plan feature delivery in a continuous flow. The Portfolio Kanban board helps you track the status of your portfolio items as they move along in your portfolio process.
Maximum throughput is the objective by finding bottlenecks in your process and limiting the work-in-progress to get work done effectively and efficiently.
Consider the following when estimating throughput:
- How effective is your current process? Should it be adjusted?
- Which team members are overloaded?
- How much time will it take to release this feature?
- Are there any bottlenecks—now or potentially in the future?
- What is the planned release date for this feature?