Replenishment Playbook

Overview

The Replenishment meeting is focused on making sure the team has enough of the right work to do and has the capacity to be able to commit to delivering that work.

There are 6 steps in completing this Playbook:

  1. Agree where to start

  2. Review your Pool of Options

  3. Review your Classes of Service

  4. Review your WIP Limits

  5. Review your Policies

  6. Pull items from your list of options

Purpose

The purpose of replanishment is to select just enough work from the pool of options based on the Team's current capacity.  The Team should have enough work so that they everyone has work to get on with but not so much that they become overloaded.

Participants

  • The whole Team

  • Any Stakeholders who are necessary to provide the Team with the context of a piece of work

Difficulty

 

3 - Moderate

Duration

30 - 60 minutes, (depending on frequency and capability, plan for longer sessions until the Team gain some experience.)

Materials

Pool of options

Kanban Board

3 - Moderate.png

Agree where to start

Having clarity on when and how you will perform your replanishment uplifts the effectiveness of the meeting and avoids wasting time on fruitless conversations.

How will you determine when replenishment is required?

  • On a regular cadence

  • When work in process falls below a pre-determined level

What inputs or changes have emerged from your other Kanban meetings?

  • Improvements or changes may have emerged in your Daily Standup since your last Replenishment

  • Information may have emerged during your Strategy Review that evolves your approach to Replenishment.

Clarity on classes of service

Clearly defined classes of service will make it easier to understand the urgency and importance of each of the items in your pool of options.

Prioritisation approach

Agreement in advance of your replenishment on how you will approach prioritisation allows the meeting to focus on what needs to be done rather than why something is more or less important than something else.

Digital Chronometer

Review your Pool of Options

Remember that the work items in your backlog are not commitments, they are a pool of options from which the Team can 'pull' the items they believe are most valuable or beneficial.

The act of accepting them into your "To do" or "Ready" column CAN be the commitment point, but it depends on your individual policies.

Review the items in your backlog in line with your policies to select the items that are the best candidate for delivery.

PRO TIP!

Commitment means committing to deliver something, not just committing to work on it.

Review your Classes of Service

Classes of service are your policies which set out how something should be treated so you can prioritise the items in your pool of options.

Typically there are 4 classes of service:

  • Expedite – Do this first, even if other things are in progress.

  • Fixed Date – This item must be completed before a set date AND there is a high cost if you miss that date.

  • Standard – Most items should fit this class.

  • Intangible – These are usually improvement items that don't necessarily deliver value immediately.  Teams use these for uplifting their capability.

Delivery Service

Review your WIP Limits

Work In Progress Limits help your Team to be able to select the right amount of work, so they always have enough to do while never being overloaded.  When WIP Limits are set and used effectively, the Team will achieve a high level of throughput.

Don't change your WIP Limits on a whim!  There should be empirical evidence that the current WIP limit is creating waste or obstructing flow.

Part of your Replenishment meeting is to review your WIP Limits for each phase in your workflow so you are always looking for that balance of just enough work.

Reflecting on the flow of work through your kanban board since your last replenishment.

  • Were there any items delayed?

  • Was there any wasted capacity?

  • How was the flow acrosss the whole board?

Review your Policies

Your policies set out how you deal with the things that emerge as you go about your work.  They help you to know how to respond when there is an issue, but also how you deal with the normal day-to-day flow of work across the board.

Explicitely reviewing your polices as you go into your Replenishment session helps to remind everyone on the Team, (and any stakeholders you invited,) what they can expect as the work progresses.

Your policies might include:

  • What is the commit point?  Does the Team commit to delivering an item when it goes from the backlog into the "To do" state?  Or when it goes into the first "In progress" state?

  • What does a work item need in order for us to accept it?  You might need to ensure resources are available, dependencies are ready, or stakeholders are committed to supporting the Team's delivery.

  • How will a defect be dealt with?

  • What happens if the scope changes?

  • How will the Team deal with last minute requests?

  • How do you deal with aging items in your pool of options?

Pull items from your list of options

At this stage in your replanishment, you are simply pulling items from your list of options based on the priorities dictated by your classes of service in line with your policies.

Depending on your policies, the Team may be committing to deliver them or they may see the first column of their board as a buffer state that is still considered optional.  Whether the first state of your process is a commitment or still an option, treat it seriously, your stakeholders probably don't understand the difference, so when they see it being pulled onto the board by the Team, they are expecting that it will be delivered.

Simply go through the pool of options in priority order.

  1. Do we have any remaining capacity?

    • If yes, review the highest priority item

    • If no, you are done, thank participants and close the session

  2. Do we have the capacity to pull this next highest priority item?

    • If yes, review the item in detail against your policies for accepting work

    • if no, go to the next item

  3. Does this item have everything it needs for our acceptance or work policy?

    • If yes, pull the item and return to number 1

    • If no, note down what the item needs to align to your acceptance of work policy and return to the start