Commitment in Kanban

In previous post here I suggested that historical data should be used for estimation and establishing of SLA. In this post, I talk about how we can give the up-streams dates for completion. The up-stream are those groups responsible on replenishing the back-log, who can be product managers, clients, marketing, management or others. The back-log card should contain the target date which the up-stream wants confirmation as early as possible on its viability. The first stage of Kanban board should address the following:
– assessment of technical risk
– establishment of technical solution to implement the requirement
– solution architecture
– task breakdown (e.g. graphic design, middle ware,…)

Estimation is embedded in first stage, however, it is being refined based on negotiating the solution between developers and product owner based on the constraints of cost and time. Doing sizing in the pre-sales cycle is almost always going to be changed when the backlog item is pulled to the development team in addition of waste creation as discussed in the above link.

The first stage of Value Stream should be the fastest. This in-order to provide quick feedback to the business on the viability of achieving target dates. The knowledge derived from this first stage can affect prioritization as well and should improve hand-off between business and development team. We can only commit to release date as we complete this stage.For me I would recommend board design to allow fast pulling of card and add completed cards into the queue of the next stage.

Accumulating backlog items to the backlog imposes high risk on our delivery ability and to satisfy the business users up-stream. Items which remain in the backlog can become obsolete and by the time they are pulled to the first stage the client might already changed their minds.

I summary use historical data to provide estimates during presales and use the first stage of Kanban board to provide commitment on release date.

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