Flow. It’s all about flow… a continuous flow of value on the Continuous Delivery Pipeline (CDP) is essential in SAFe. Ideas trickle down from the portfolio funnel down to portfolio backlog. Program work is pulled from the portfolio backlog … pulled work to the program level goes through the Continuous Exploration (CE)… with the product manager on the center surrounded by collaborators.
Product manager steers the train with prioritized features … sequenced the right way.
Note that, sometimes, work goes directly to the program-level without coming in from the portfolio-level funnel of ideas/epics; these could be technical debt, refactor, etc.
Continuous Exploration is very exciting to me; this is where we get the tear/pull apart an idea or an epic. We do research, business analysis work, interviews, do the ‘gemba’ walk for ideas, etc. just to have a deeper understanding (deeper than what is known from its Lean Business Case) of the idea/epic on hand.
After the research and tearing/ pulling things apart, the next step is to synthesize it… putting all the pieces together with a better understanding of the whole, with a clear vision (the big picture), a set of features, and a roadmap for the features’ execution to realize the vision/big picture. One of the four SAFe core values is ‘Program Execution’ … CE is at the program level… features are at program level… CE and Program Execution, done well, are the keys to success!
Michael Dell — when he was starting up ‘Dell Computers’ — legend has it that he asked his parents to buy him a computer (not cheap in those days)… instead of using it, he pulled it apart to understand the different components…he explored the hardware! He later on put the pieces together with a better understanding of the whole computer… this understanding enabled him to build his very own and the first Dell computer!
to be continued …