Managing Large Backlogs - APPS Series

David Anderson's picture
Wed, Sep 18, 2019
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Agile Pain Point Solutions

Managing Large Backlogs

Scheduling, Sequencing & Selection Using Risk Assessment Frameworks and Cost of Delay Analysis

Learn to prioritize better and faster. Make better, fact-based, more defensible decisions.



If you search for a flight on a travel web site and the results state that 3000+ flights met your criteria, how do you choose which one to buy? You don’t rank or prioritize a large set of choices, instead you filter them. When you have to answer questions like, “What should we start next?” – “Which order must we do things?” – “How many things should we have in progress at the same time?” and “What might be the impact if an item takes longer and is delivered later than we hoped?” …traditional approaches to these questions, are cumbersome, time-consuming and often require large amounts of guessing and use of assumptions, layered upon more assumptions.

This class teaches you a fast, light-weight and yet very powerful approach to deciding what do to next, which order to do things, when to start something and how to manage a very large set of choices, using fact-based, filtering techniques similar to those seen on travel booking web sites.

The use of fact-based risk assessmentrisk assessment frameworksdemand-shaping thresholds, and qualitative understanding of cost of delay, will enable faster, better decision making, for scheduling, sequencing and selection of work.

If you’ve found yourself, questioning your actions and judgment, in denial of guessing and manipulating your equations in order to get to the right answer, if you’ve often felt like an imposter in your role as a product manager or product owner, if “prioritization” is your job, then this class will provide answers to questions that have been frustrating you for years. Using these techniques, you’ll gain confidence, you’ll make better, more defensible decisions, and you will gain mastery of your responsibilities.

Risk assessment is _the_ essential skill for product owners and this intensive 1-day class will teach you how to use it.


Learning Objectives:

  • Learn why almost everything you’ve ever read about Cost of Delay is wrong, or at least, not applicable in your context
  • Learn to understand cost of delay properly, both qualitatively, and quantitatively
  • Learn the 3-dimensions of qualitative cost of delay assessment: shape, impact and shelf-life (or product lifecycle)
  • Learn the four-category taxonomy of qualitative cost of delay shape assessment
  • Learn to create fact-based taxonomies that describe attributes of work requests
  • Learn to recognize whether a taxonomy has nominal, ordinal, interval or ratio nature to it
  • Learn how to use taxonomies to classify and manage risk
  • Learn our catalog of commonly recurring or frequently useful risk taxonomies
  • Learn how to build a custom risk assessment framework from multiple taxonomies
  • Learn how to apply risk hedging strategies by allocating capacity to work with different classes of risk
  • Learn how to use capacity allocation and demand-shaping thresholds to facilitate filtering and selection
  • Learn to create interval or ratio taxonomies for impact and shelf-life
  • Learn how to integrate cost of delay assessment into a general risk assessment framework
  • Learn how to use risk assessment frameworks to filter large backlogs down to a manageable human scale and make fast, impactful, fact-based, fully defensible decisions on scheduling, sequencing and selection of work

The Agile Pain Point Solutions (APPS) Series is collection of 1-day classes that cut straight to the challenges people have been reporting to us for over a decade. Offering simple, yet powerful answers, each class gives you new skills and insights with which to address an aspect of Agile adoption that is poorly addressed in conventional literature.

“As a business, we measure the wrong things and our culture isn’t suitable for Agile adoption, how can we fix it?”
“We struggle to write small, fine-grained requirements, can you help us get better at it?”
“Prioritization is painful, time-consuming and stressful. We have a huge backlog. Can you help us get better at prioritizing?”
“We struggle to scale Agile because of dependencies. How can we identify them earlier and manage our capacity better? Dependency management feels like ‘Big Planning Up-front’”
“We aren’t good at estimating; can you help us get better at it?”

Are these familiar problems to you? Do you find your Agile advisors lay the blame with you? If only you followed established guidance better, harder, with greater diligence and intensity, then all would be well? The answers to these challenges always seem to be more elaborate, detailed, intense, and frustrating – big expensive meetings, more and more collaborators to coordinate, more detail, more complicated equations, more-and-more time: it all feels like you are going backwards, further and further from true agility.

For years, Kanban University has had truly elegant solutions to these problems, but they haven’t been easily accessible – buried inside our Enterprise Services Planning (ESP) 5-day training. Now, we are making these Agile Pain Point Solutions (APPS) available in easy to consume 1-day classes, specifically to address the problems and challenges our customers have been reporting to us for a decade. If you are a product owner, or involved in Agile planning for your organization, then the Kanban APPS series will give you the skills to be successful and to deliver true organizational agility.

Choose from:

  • Day 1 - Better KPIs – Metrics for Meaningful Organizational Behavior 

     Applying the Fit-for-Purpose Framework to drive congruent action at all levels 

      Learn how to define better OKRs: Build better Balanced Scorecards: Drive desirable change

  • Day 2 - Clear Product Requirements
  •      Using the Fit-for-Purpose Framework, archetypes & the universal feature template 

Day 3 - Managing Large Backlogs 

     Scheduling, Sequencing, & Selection using risk assessment frameworks and cost of delay analysis

  •        Learn to prioritize better and faster. Make better, fact-based, more defensible decision

  • Day 4 - Managing Dependencies for Enterprise Agility 
  •      Using dynamic reservation systems, capacity allocation and classes of reservation 

  •         A lightweight, probabilistic, risk managed approach to capacity management and anticipating dependencies 

  • Day 5 - Forecasting Projects and Customer Deliveries

  •      No estimates, no speculation, no crystal ball gazing 

      A mathematically robust approach to fact-based planning for the enterprise scale projects and programs 


Cancellation Policy – Please Note:

With the goal of always delivering the most current and relevant content to students, please note that the class agenda, contents and schedule, are subject to change.

Substitutions are accepted at any time. Cancellations must be notified by email and refunds will be provided according to the following:

More than 10 days prior = 80% of course fee
5 to 10 days prior = 50% of course fee
Less than 5 days = no refund provided

Lean Kanban, Inc. reserves the right to postpone or cancel this event if there are insufficient registrations or if presenters are unable to attend due to illness. If necessary, you will be notified no later than 7 days prior to the event and all registration payments will be refunded promptly.  If circumstances require, presenters may be substituted for alternative qualified presenters with equivalent experience.

Please be advised that events can be subject to changes in date and/or venue due to acts out of our control such as bad weather, civil unrest, etc. It is recommended that you purchase changeable and refundable tickets. Lean Kanban, Inc. will not be responsible for incurred costs in the event that we need to make changes due to circumstances beyond our control.

For more information, please contact us at: