Taking the Mystery Out of Lean-Agile Portfolio Management | Targetprocess Blog

3 weeks ago

Taking the Mystery Out of Lean-Agile Portfolio Management

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Have you ever thrown a party and everything went wrong? The food was bad, the music was wrong, and half of your guests didn’t show up? That can be painful, especially when you’ve invested time and money, and what you envisioned was so clear. At the end of the event, you find yourself replaying the entire planning process, realizing how things could have been handled differently. You could have started sooner, delegated more responsibility to friends, and checked in with each person to make sure they were accomplishing what you needed. That is how a great party comes together.

Ironically, portfolio management can play out the exact same way.

The scope of project and portfolio management is ever evolving. And while we have moved toward efficiency in execution and collaboration, some classic issues still stand in the way of optimal system performance. Many organizations are still married to the idea of planning an entire project and moving development teams toward one overarching goal with a waterfall-style approach. This creates potential problems at the outset because the focus is on reaching the end goal, rather than looking at the best way to approach the work. If the approach is looked at realistically, teams can plan to complete work that in a realistic amount of time – and more importantly, for the value and quality that can be delivered to the business or end user. Lean Portfolio Management gives organizations a way to do this.

Lean Portfolio Management (LPM) is a competency that aligns strategy and execution by applying Lean and systems thinking approaches to strategy and investment funding, Agile portfolio operations, and governance (SAFe). It allows stakeholders and clients to prioritize those features that present the greatest business value. Instead of the classic task and resource-driven approach to product development, lean focuses on validating results, with the philosophy that delivering the most valuable components of a product is more efficient and effective than putting more bodies on a job in order to deliver the overall product sooner, but with higher risk and cost. LPM features include:

  • The ability to identify and prioritize the most valuable and important activities
  • Delivery of high ROI work quickly and with minimal interruptions
  • Ensuring project tasks are aligned with enterprise objectives
  • Efficient validation of work at the conclusion of each event

Jim Trott, Senior Consultant for training organization Net Objectives, speaks to the value of LPM for unclogging the issues of traditional portfolio management:

“What you want is for the business to drive small increments, giving the development team just enough to get value out at a sustainable pace. It is possible to do a better job planning! ... Lean portfolio management cuts through all of this! Since we are planning in shorter cycles, if a new change comes through, we just compare it with all of the other requirements in the next cycle and insert it if has higher business value. Those change boards - so bedeviling - become a thing of the past.”

However, in many organizations, the role of defining portfolio management is still unclear. The goal of portfolio management is to align the goals and values of development teams while driving continuous improvement. Lean Portfolio Management (LPM) can move teams in this direction. But as outlined in the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), LPM can often seem loosely defined and the responsibilities of this function require thoughtful strategy in order for organizations to see results.

Andrew Sales, Senior Consultant, SAFe Program Consultant Trainer (SPCT), and Olga Ikhelis, Head of Solutions & Consulting for Targetprocess, have teamed up to demystify LPM, in our on-demand webinar, Lean Portfolio Management Demystified: Practical Patterns for Amplifying the Impact of SAFe.

In this on-demand webinar, you’ll learn:

  • The 3 key areas of responsibility for an LPM function
  • Events and cadences required to facilitate successful LPM
  • The role of the Agile PMO and Portfolio Management
  • How others apply these ideas in the real-world
  • How solutions, like Targetprocess, support SAFe, Portfolio Management and planning events (i.e. PI planning)

This on-demand webinar will help you understand lean thinking and how LPM can function within your organization. With your own projects in mind, you will see how LPM breaks into events and how it is being used on real teams today. You can begin to visualize how to structure your teams into LPM and incorporate solutions for planning your events. Many of the ongoing concerns of cost, resource, time and risk management can be addressed with this approach and this on-demand webinar will provide the guidance you need to bring it to life.

Start thinking of projects and results that could potentially be transformed by implementing LPM, and watch the webinar today!

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