by Business Analysis,
Some of the changes to achieve the future state will require considering large initiatives as Epics, as containers capture the more substantial investments that occur within a portfolio. Business epics directly deliver business value.
The agile culture preaches frequent feedback loops that can be applied globally (across the entire organisation) and locally (across all teams). The idea is to create a network of these short planning and learning cycles at various organisational levels so that you can review strategy, initiative risk, and delivery capabilities. This allows you to quickly adapt to high-level changes and shift your operations to the most critical priority whenever necessary.
A portfolio of epics is made visible, developed, and managed through a Kanban workflow management method, allowing you to track and optimise the flow of different business initiatives visually. The idea is to regularly review and participate in collaborative discussions with middle managers about things such as identified dependencies or risks, available capacity across the structure, and shared resource needs.
Incorporate the lessons learned into the initiative briefs and the execution of the initiative to improve the overall performance of the program and mitigate repeated risks. If the epic/initiative’s objectives were not achieved, a process of improvement should start, to identify the area in which the benefit was not achieved, identify which process to adjust and who is responsible for achieving the benefit. The two initiative brief components essential to this assessment are the risk register associated with the initiative’s benefits, along with its assumptions, and the anticipated operating cost.
Expect resistance to change. The step of change will be larger than expected. People’s ability to participate in and support change is one of the greatest barriers in the implementation of a portfolio management process, where initiatives can suddenly lose priority and be cancelled summarily.
Use a specific committee for implementation, focused on creating a team of portfolio management, which must start before other initiatives are initiated, to establish an ideal environment for the process. They will also be responsible for training and communication of new practices. Use a technology tool that can assist in the implementation and management. Effective portfolio management is based both on financial and resource management, and on the correct prioritisation of initiatives. Charts that show the overall health of the portfolio in these areas make life easier for managers. The Balanced Scorecard is also essential for tracking strategic objectives and initiative alignment. Depending on the maturity of the organisation, other techniques such as Monte Carlo Simulation, Decision Trees and Efficient Frontier can also be used to help top management.
The essence of governance is the decision-making process about investments. Agile Portfolio Management is a dynamic decision process. Budget and revenue guidelines change. The conditions of the market and customer feedback dictate the new priorities.
Resource constraints impact delivery. The list of initiatives must be constantly updated and revised. In this process, new initiatives are evaluated, selected, and prioritised; existing initiatives can be accelerated, cancelled or reprioritised, and resources are allocated or shifted to higher value-added initiatives.
The value generated with Agile Portfolio Management is in the correct and effective selection of the best initiatives, based on the strategic plan of the organization, and its objectives, and how much each initiative will contribute.
Sebestian, Ulla. Agile Multi Project Management – Portfolio Management, Resource Management andProduct Management. Parmatur HB 2017.
Lazar, Olivier. The Four Pillars of Portfolio Management – Organisational Agility, Strategy, Risk, and Resources. CRC Press 2019.
Nielsen, Klaus. Agile Portfolio Management. Routledge 2022