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The program board shows which two items? (Choose two.)

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A. Epics

B. Risks

C. Capacity and Load 

D. Features

E. Significant dependencies

The Correct Answer is

D. Features

E. Significant Dependencies

Explanation

The program board in the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) primarily shows two key items:

  • Features: It outlines the features that are planned for delivery in the upcoming Program Increment (PI). These features are usually derived from the team PI objectives and are planned for implementation across the various iterations within the PI.
  • Significant dependencies: The board highlights the dependencies between different teams and features within the ART (Agile Release Train). These dependencies are critical for planning and coordination to ensure smooth execution and delivery of the features within the PI timeline.

Epics are typically managed at a higher level (Portfolio or Large Solution) and are not detailed on the program board. Risks may be discussed during PI planning and tracked elsewhere, but they are not the primary focus of the program board. While capacity and load are crucial considerations during PI planning, the program board specifically visualizes the delivery plan in terms of features and their dependencies across teams.

The Program Board is a crucial visualization tool used in the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) during Program Increment (PI) planning events. It serves to illustrate and manage the flow of features and the significant dependencies across teams within the Agile Release Train (ART). Let’s explore in detail the significance of the features and significant dependencies displayed on the Program Board:

Features

  • Definition and Role: Features in SAFe are serviceable components that deliver value to the customer. They are substantial enough to warrant planning and tracking but are designed to be deliverable within a single Program Increment (PI).

  • Visualization on the Program Board: Features are mapped out across the iterations of the PI. This mapping provides a clear visual representation of what the ART commits to delivering over the PI. It allows all members of the ART, including business owners and stakeholders, to see at a glance what outcomes are expected and when.

  • Alignment and Prioritization: The presence of features on the Program Board helps in aligning the team’s work with the strategic objectives of the organization. Features are typically prioritized using Weighted Shortest Job First (WSJF) to ensure that the ART is delivering the most value possible within the PI.

Significant Dependencies

  • Definition and Impact: Significant dependencies refer to the critical inter-team and inter-feature relationships that must be managed to ensure smooth delivery of value. These can include dependencies on other features within the ART, external teams, or even third-party services.

  • Visualization and Management: By highlighting these dependencies on the Program Board, teams can anticipate and plan for potential bottlenecks or blockers. This foresight allows for proactive management of risks associated with dependencies, such as aligning schedules, coordinating efforts, and negotiating timelines.

  • Facilitating Communication: The Program Board acts as a focal point for discussions about dependencies during the PI planning event. It fosters cross-team communication and collaboration, encouraging teams to work together in resolving dependencies and ensuring commitments are realistic and achievable.

Additional Considerations

  • Not Featured on the Program Board: While epics, risks, and capacity/load are essential elements of PI planning and ART management, they are not directly visualized on the Program Board. Epics are managed at a higher level, risks are tracked through other mechanisms, and capacity/load considerations influence feature planning but are not displayed on the board.

  • Broader Purpose: Beyond just showing features and dependencies, the Program Board is a living artifact that evolves during the PI. It serves as a continuous reference point for tracking progress, adjusting plans, and resolving emerging dependencies or challenges.

In summary, the Program Board is a strategic tool in SAFe that enables the ART to visualize, coordinate, and deliver the planned features within a PI while managing significant dependencies. It embodies the principles of transparency, alignment, and collaboration essential for the success of any Lean-Agile organization.

Other Leading SAFe 6.0 Question – How does SAFe describe Customer Centricity?

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