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Perspective on SAFe Portfolio WIP Limits and Budgeting from Eric Willeke

I’m always pleased to see bright people explaining and summarizing SAFe better than I can. In a recent post, Eric Willeke, a leader in the kanban community, describes how SAFe handles WIP limits at the portfolio level (after all, if you don’t limit the really big WIP there, the rest of the system may be in deep trouble, no matter what else you do). He also points out the connection between Portfolio WIP management and Lean Agile Budgeting, which is a critical, though subtle, connection that helps achieve flow.

here is the post:

and here is an excerpt/teaser:

by Eric Willeke.

Portfolio Distribution: SAFe significantly simplifies the decisionmaking around the above concerns through the recommended budgeting approach, which explicit allocates both budget, delegated financial authority, and scope determination to the release trains as the default approach. This leads to a significantly reduced portion of the overall spend being managed as explicit items in the portfolio flow, Instead, the majority of the work can flow “horizontally” at the train level without incurring the administrative and governance overhead associated with the larger items flowing through the portfolio backlog. The portfolio flow is intended to be used only for those items that cut across trains and are of sufficient size that they need explicit financial governance. Reference. SAFe additionally provides an optional value-stream level coordination layer to manage coordination of those cross-cutting items that demand additional coordination due to the various dependencies that remain after making the organizational structure trade-off decisions without adding the additional financial governance overhead.

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