I can keep my promises! Product Management with Kanban

location_city Toronto schedule Nov 6th 02:30 - 03:30 PM place Lake Louise people 4 Interested

What should we work on now, later and never? When will it be ready? What is the status of our current commitments? Do our teams even have the capability and capacity to deliver on our promises to our customers? These are the challenges and risks that product managers need to manage on a daily basis. In this interactive session, we'll explore ways that Kanban can help you improve decision making, manage risk, improve transparency, and make promises you can keep.


Outline/Structure of the Talk

We begin the session by examining ways to visualize the balance between demand and capacity. A number of demand shaping and capability improvement tools to improve this balance will be reviewed.

To help your organization focus on the right things and not-overload your teams, the concept of Real Options and how they differ from Commitments will be discussed. We will examine how Cost of Delay can aid in determining the appropriate time to start or defer new work.

We will look at ways to build-in agility into your product roadmaps through the use of Upstream Kanban. 

We conclude by reviewing a framework for rapid decision making; mixing high-quality and strategically-aligned decisions with the ability to make them quickly in a fast-paced agile environment.

Learning Outcome

Participants will leave this session with a pragmatic expanded toolkit that can be brought back to their place of work.

These tools include:

  • The ability to balance and understand your demand and capacity.
  • Using real options and commitments to balance roadmaps from work in flight.
  • Using Upstream Kanban to develop a more agile roadmap to marshal options for future work.
  • Tools to both improve the quality of decisions while also making them much more quickly.

Target Audience

Product Managers, Product Owners, Coaches, Project Managers, Business Owners & Entrepreneurs, Department Managers & Executives



schedule Submitted 8 months ago

  • Fernando Cuenca

    Fernando Cuenca - Agile Dependencies: When "going cross-functional" is not an option

    60 Mins

    Small, cross-functional teams are the "bread & butter" of Agile environments. Amongst many advantages, they help remove delays introduced by dependencies between groups. Unfortunately, many organizations find it difficult to reorganize their teams to be cross-functional, and even when they do, it's practically impossible to remove all dependencies, leaving many teams in the need to find ways to orchestrate work across various groups that work using different processes.

    This talk will explore the problem of intra-team dependencies, its impact in Customer flow, and practical strategies team-level leaders (as well as system-level leaders) can apply to help make the whole system more responsive, fit-for-purpose, and agile. In particular, the talk will describe Dynamic Reservation Systems, an advanced dependency management technique.

  • Fernando Cuenca

    Fernando Cuenca - Upstream Kanban: Modelling Discovery and Innovation in the "Fuzzy Front-End"

    60 Mins

    How do your features land in the Product Backlog? Perhaps your team uses "design sprints", "design thinking" workshops, a "UX research" phase, ongoing "grooming" sessions., or a combination of all that. When all that is happening, how do you narrow down your options to select the best ideas amongst all the good ones that come out of brainstorming sessions? Perhaps through long "prioritization" sessions, where it's difficult to come up with an objective criteria. And then, how does commitment and scheduling happen? How is it decided that an idea will be worked on now, later or perhaps never? 

    All teams have processes in place to do all these things, but most have trouble describing how it actually happens, and therefore reasoning about its effectiveness and ways to improve it to remove any frustration that they may be causing. Upstream Kanban is an answer to these challenges.

    This talk will explore the use of Upstream Kanban to visualize, model, and manage the "fuzzy front-end" activities that are often used to drive discovery and innovation. We will describe what to look for in a "healthy" upstream workflow, the role of experimentation, and the use of "custom risk assessment frameworks" to drive selection and commitment.