Program Level is the cornerstone of the Scaled Agile Framework


“Teamwork. Alone we can do so little. Together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller

Program Level works to accelerate the Agile Release Train (ART) to its success. The train delivers the solution incrementally to the stakeholders. The Program Level consists of planning, Program Kanban and Inspect and Adapt activities which ensure the optimum quality of the solution.

The Agile Release Train consists of multiple Agile Teams. The individuals responsible for leading the Train and essential for providing maximum output are listed below:

  • System Architect – Devises the architecture of the system
  • Product Manager – Understands customer needs.
  • Release Train Engineer – Guides the flow of value in the Agile Release Train.
  • Business Owners – Stakeholders who give feedback

The artifacts that are the result of the Program Level are:

    • Features – The items that become the part of the final solution
    • Program Epics – Epics which originates from Portfolio Epics and become part of an Agile Release Train
    • Program Backlog – The list of features that have to be implemented for an Agile Release Train
    • PI Objectives – Objectives that were planned in the Program Increment Planning session and which have to be achieved
    • Architectural Runway – The technical vision consisting of code and the features that become part of the solution to fulfill business objectives to enhance value
    • Road map


The Release Train Engineer organizes the PI Planning, Program Kanban and Inspect and Adapt activities. The Product Manager works with the customers to understand their needs. This becomes the part of the Product Backlog to define the features. The System Architect devises the overall architecture of the system and helps define the interfaces and subsystems. Program Kanban allows the discovery, definition and development of features that are required by the business to realize the Vision and Roadmap. Features are prioritized in the Program Backlog to fit in the PI. Features are reasoned and analyzed prior to reaching the PI boundary then they are prioritized.


  • Connected with the Portfolio Level and the Value Stream Level.
  • Serves as coordinating the Agile Teams to become the Agile Release Train.
  • The heart of organization for Program Increment which is the cornerstone of the Scaled Agile Framework.
  • Assists the Agile Release Train in continuously delivering the solution.
  • Program Kanban limits the Work in Process to maintain focus on the work being done.

Tool for Program Level Planning

At Program Level Management, many teams are struggling to get a single view of progress and understanding of the complexity of feature dependencies amongst teams.

According to our survey, 87% of Program Leadership is using Microsoft’s Excel as a capability matrix to understand dependencies. Also, the extensive use of Wikis to visualize and monitor progress of features. It has been a detrimental factor in collaboration.

Kendis is a tool that takes transparency from Team level and beyond to provide a summarized and meaningful view of the progress at the Program Level. Its automatic synchronization with renowned team level tools like Jira, keeps you updated in real time. Program Increment sessions have been more productive and valuable for the teams who have used Kendis by now.

Share your organization’s struggles with Kendis and know more on how we can help with your enterprise at: [email protected]

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