The Portfolio Kanban is a board that visualizes the flow of work. The columns represent where in the process a work item is placed. Each column represents the states described in the playbook: Idea, Priority, Ready, Doing and Done.
Depending on the size of the organization it may be favorable to add a “work in progress” (WIP) limit on each column. The WIP limits the number of active work items in the column where it is added. As an example the following WIP limits could be apply to the Portfolio Kanban board:
- Idea: No limit (We want to have as many ideas represented as needed)
- Priority: 2 (We can only work on prioritising 2 items at the time)
- Ready: 1 (We can only work on preparing 1 item at the time)
- Doing: 1 (We can only work on developing 1 item at the time)
- Done: No limit (We want to have as many done items as needed)
The WIP limits above should be changed to fit the flow in the organisation, however, be careful about increasing the numbers since it may prove ineffective to have too many open work items in each column.
Having WIP limits will help the organization to enable pull-based flow. This means that there must be a focus on completing the work in “doing”. When all work items in “doing” are completed, a new work item can be pulled from “ready”. Pulling a work item from “ready” will free up capacity to pull a work item from “priority” into “ready” which will free up capacity to pull a work item from “idea” into priority. Et volia.