Activating Your Strategy with Smart, Responsive Portfolio Management

High-performance Agile delivery capability isn’t enough if your teams and resources are allocated to the wrong strategic priorities. With Agile portfolio management, today’s fast-paced external changes and feedback from the teams can inform current execution plans and portfolio strategies more frequently than just yearly.

Portfolio management has always focused on enabling the organization to make the best decisions possible in order to create value. It does this through understanding the vision and strategy of the organization and matching the business demand with the organizational capacity to fulfill the strategic goals. This doesn’t change in an Agile organization. In fact, the need is even more compelling. With transparency and alignment across the organization, your business can respond intelligently and responsively to business changes when you bring Agile to portfolio management.

Yesterday

  • Limited competition created market stability, which enabled economies of scale.
  • Static worker roles were easy to exploit and received information on a need-to-know basis.

Today

  • Market is unstable due to constant change from new technologies, customer expectations and competitors.
  • Employees are in knowledge roles and are empowered.

Tomorrow

  • Navigating the future means navigating constant uncertainty.
  • You bring the right products to market by connecting directly to your customers and engaging your brilliant people.

How is Agile Portfolio Management Different?

Traditional approaches to portfolio and demand management do not provide leading enterprises with the responsiveness, predictability and accountability required to be successful in today’s continuously changing world. Agile Portfolio Management delivers results in the same areas as traditional Portfolio Management, but with new techniques and better results in today’s complexity.

Agile Portfolio Management delivers results because it:

  1. Takes a systems view in order to understand demand
  2. Increases focus on smaller increments, enabling responsiveness of the portfolio mix and investment levels
  3. Provides greater yet simpler transparency of information
  4. Focuses on future over past

Current Day Activities and Mindsets are Problematic

Traditional portfolio management activities and mindsets create challenges for your organization, that Agile Portfolio Management provide solutions for in today’s business world.

Traditional Process

  1. Initiatives are evaluated in isolation and approved based primarily on ROI
  2. Heavy weight prioritization process, typically done for strategic items only
  3. Approve and fund whole Initiative
  4. Annual budgeting cycle, typically takes several months to complete
  5. Requirements documents are built early by the expert and are highly detailed

Challenges

  1. Lack of context or awareness of organizational capacity leads to overcommitment.
  2. The actual work in progress is not reflected, leading to confusion in the teams.
  3. Decision making is tactical rather than responsive and strategic.
  4. There is a lack of visibility, inaccurate funding for mid-year projects, dead-on-arrival budgets.
  5. Details are often incorrect, difficult to manage, and don’t allow for change.

Solutions

  1. Use an organizational Velocity as a measure for starting new Initiatives.
  2. Quick and frequent multi-layered prioritization process results in clearer direction.
  3. Organize around value streams, and approve and fund the first iteration of an Initiative
  4. Quarterly budgeting process adjusts and adapts to the environment.
  5. Form initiatives requirements in iterations.

We’re Here to Help

We will guide you in leveraging an Agile mindset in your approach to portfolio management and help you rethink your current portfolio management processes. Agile provides evidence-based, leading-indicator data, such as quality and value-throughput metric, that can be used to improve decisions. We introduce the key practice of matching your actual capacity (supply) to your strategic portfolio investments (demand) in a data-driven manner. We will help you:

  1. Align portfolios and investment sectors to value streams, and set capacity allocations appropriate to strategy
  2. Support regular and frequent reprioritization and commitment using value-based indicators to steer the portfolio towards most important priorities
  3. Adapt the current annual budget cycle to enable iterative Agile delivery
  4. Commit to delivering value, not hours, and incorporate innovative funding approaches like Beyond Budgeting
  5. Create active communication channels all the way into Portfolio and Leadership, to gain trust and alignment – using culture as a true strategic business lever

Through portfolio management simulations along with training and consulting, we drive home the importance of connecting high-level strategic plans to the work your teams do every day. This gives you the flexibility to optimize your strategy or the work to seize new opportunities and adapt to market changes.

Developing an Agile Portfolio Mindset

Leverage your Agile teams’ outcomes to provide stable indicators for even better corporate performance. Agile Portfolio Management isn’t a single service: it’s a capability that requires a whole new strategy. We offer you training, coaching and consulting support to establish this capability, which will also necessitate rethinking the following areas, for which we can also provide guidance and support as part of your portfolio strategy execution:

  • Continuous planning and budgeting
  • Accounting and financial reconciliation
  • Value-stream mapping
  • Leadership and culture development

What’s Next?

If you’re interested in bringing the Agile Portfolio Management workshop to your organization or just getting started, SolutionsIQ will connect you with a Solutions Consultant who can help you navigate your Agile journey. Get the experts. Nothing Less.

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