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Lean Portfolio Management

Plan, fund, and deliver the value that matters most

Planview’s Lean Portfolio Management solution enables your organization to achieve enterprise agility by planning, funding, and delivering products and solutions faster, improving business outcomes, and supporting strategic objectives.

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Drive Enterprise Agility with Lean Portfolio Management

By connecting strategic portfolio management with Agile delivery, Planview’s Lean Portfolio Management solution enables companies to deliver products and solutions faster, improve business outcomes, and support corporate strategic objectives.

Why Lean Portfolio Management?

Traditional approaches to portfolio management simply can’t keep pace with today’s rate of change and market disruption. Applying a Lean-Agile approach to portfolio management empowers organizations to work more effectively – reducing wasted time and effort while continuously prioritizing customer needs.

  • Traditional Approach
    • Resources are told what to work on
    • People are moved from project to project and work on many projects at the same time
    • Detailed, requirement-laden project plans are created before work begins
    • Plans are project-driven and typically follow inflexible annual plans that are difficult to change
    • Work is very detailed before it is ever started
    • Project-based budgeting and funding is tightly controlled by finance
    • Adherence to waterfall, milestone or stage gate project-driven work
  • Lean-Agile Approach
    • Teams contribute to decision making
    • Work is flowed to the team and value is delivered incrementally
    • Lean business cases are utilized to prioritize and fund the work that matters most
    • Plans are value-driven and are adaptive to produce maximum customer value
    • Work is incrementally delivered and customer feedback is gathered to define what is worked on next
    • Value-stream funding, with value delivery determined by the value stream leaders and team members
    • Adherence and focus on outcome-driven value delivery
Comparing Traditional Portfolio Management and Lean Portfolio Management

Requirements for a Lean Portfolio Management solution

A comprehensive Lean Portfolio Management solution should be designed to enable:

  • Lean budgeting, funding and governance
  • Value stream planning and alignment
  • Agile Program Management
  • Agile team costing and capitalization

Planview’s solution is purpose-built to enable organizations to shift from a traditional to a Lean-Agile portfolio management approach with capabilities that enable:

  • The visualization of strategic objectives across portfolios, value streams, and teams of teams
  • Setting of OKRs and financial targets for portfolio investments
  • Value stream planning and funding
  • Ranking and analysis of investments or epics by business drivers
  • What-if scenario modeling to compare trade-offs and compromises
  • Automated actuals for better Agile team costing and capitalization

Lean Portfolio Management on your terms and timeline

A typical enterprise portfolio now includes a mix of work types, including Project, Agile, Lean, and unstructured collaborative work. Planview enables organizations to connect strategy to delivery in a changing world of work and gain visibility, no matter how their teams work.

By integrating best-of-breed Program/Project Portfolio Management (PPM) and enterprise Kanban functionality, our Lean Portfolio Management solution supports organizations with differing degrees of Agile competency and portfolio management maturity. Unlike other enterprise Agile solutions that only support a single type of portfolio or work methodology, Planview empowers organizations to manage Lean-Agile transformation, on their own terms and at their own pace.

Leverage Agile partners to transform your way

If your organization needs additional assistance, we have you covered. Planview has partnered with best-of-breed Agile partners around the world to make sure your Agile solution is implemented, rolled out, and drives the business outcomes your organization desires. Regardless of where you are today, our partners can take you where you want to go.

  • Scaledagile
  • Cprime
  • Eliassen
The Information You Need

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What is Lean Portfolio Management?


7 Stages to Lean Budgeting Success

Get the step-by-step guide you can use to successfully adopt Lean budgeting practices in your own organization!

Enterprises today deal with constant change – from competitors launching new products to customers demanding different products and services to the introduction of start-ups in their space. To survive this fast-paced environment, many executives know their leadership must evolve from traditional portfolio management to Lean Portfolio Management (LPM).

At its core, Lean practices, when applied across a portfolio, enable organizations to validate and align on priorities to increase delivery, improve speed, produce higher quality products, and improve organizational health.

The net impact: Enterprises pivot as needed, leveraging rolling planning cycles and more flexible governance and budget models, and creating more adaptive and dynamic strategic plans.

Lean Portfolio Management is how you stay relevant in today’s fast-paced environment.

The Basics of Lean Portfolio Management

The most basic way to explain LPM is this: It creates the opportunity for organizations to manage their portfolio, prioritize the highest-value work first, fund the priorities, and create feedback loops to deliver faster. Essentially, get aligned so you spend your money wisely.

Done right, Lean Portfolio Management increases enterprise agility by allowing your organization to rearchitect planning and funding processes to align to the business outcomes desired. Leaders in the enterprise are taught to look at the flow of value as a whole and focus on areas with the most opportunity. As a result, funding models and planning cycles shift to more continuous, as business units or value streams are given leeway to make decisions on how value is produced or achieved.

The impact: Entire value streams and their respective teams gain more autonomy and self-organize to deliver the highest-value work first.

What changes with Lean Portfolio Management?

The traditional approach to portfolio management centralizes control, with a heavy focus on projects. To gain approval for the project, the plans have incredible detail that requires a “best guess” as to what the value delivery will be in 12–18 months (or longer). Organizations generally keep annual planning centralized in the traditional approach, realign resources to various projects, and fund those projects based on waterfall milestones. Once the project is completed, the measurements are simply, “Did the project finish on time and on budget?” Not, “Did the project deliver value to the customer or market?”

With Lean Portfolio Management, traditional portfolio management is flipped on its head. Instead of a hefty project plan, a lightweight business case is used with just enough information to create a go or no-go decision for funding and priorities. The decision-making is decentralized with the value streams determining how they will achieve the strategic objectives of the organization.

As a result, the value stream leaders have the ultimate discretion on how best to align to the organization’s goals and satisfy specific objectives within a particular delivery window. This is a significant shift from traditional portfolio management, as stakeholders are less concerned with the individual funding of specific projects and highly invested in the outcomes produced. Lean Portfolio Management also reduces some of the exposure associated with longer cycle funding models. By funding value streams in a more incremental fashion, the organization reduces potential financial risk.

How Lean Budgeting Works

When implementing Lean-Agile practices at scale, organizations quickly realize their push for agility conflicts with traditional budgeting and cost accounting practices. In order to evolve your business with Lean Portfolio Management (LPM), you must evolve your budgeting practices, as well. Lean budgeting is the part of LPM that can help you shift the way your organization plans the distribution of dollars to fund value streams and teams.

That’s because funding practices – the way budgets are allocated throughout the organization – dictate nearly every business outcome. They determine what work is prioritized, how teams are structured, and how impact is measured. Very little is accomplished in an organization without the investment of time, money, and people – so, it’s important to ensure the way funding decisions are made aligns well with the business outcomes the organization is trying to drive.

This is where Lean budgeting comes in. In Lean budgeting, Lean Portfolio Management fiduciaries determine spending by value stream, while teams within each value stream are empowered for rapid decision-making and flexible value delivery. Enterprises can have the best of both worlds: a value delivery process that is far more dynamic and responsive to market needs, as well as accountable management of value stream spending.

Funding by Value Stream

A value stream describes the set of steps from the start of value creation until the delivery of the value to the customer. Organizations can form value streams around a specific product or solution, specific verticals, or in other ways.

Rather than trying to fund individual projects, the Lean approach allocates budgets to value streams, with guardrails to define spending policies, guidelines, and practices for that portfolio (more on this later). This allows for flexibility, autonomy, and speed within each value stream, while maintaining cohesion across the portfolio.

Long-Lived, Self-Organizing Teams

Shifting to a value stream-based funding structure means that employees aren’t shuffled around from project to project, team to team, which is highly inefficient and detrimental to morale. Instead, they organize into self-sufficient, cross-functional teams who work together to achieve a common goal.

Organizing into value streams empowers team members to:

  • Align around shared, defined goals for their value stream
  • Optimize funding allocations for their value stream to deliver maximum value
  • Have the autonomy to pivot at the epic level without needing to escalate to management (freeing up management’s time for more strategic work)

Continuous Flow, Not Sequential Steps

Traditional (annual) budgeting and planning follows a linear structure, where plans are made for the year and then executed, with checkpoints throughout the year to assess status. Success within this sequential structure assumes conditions and information remain stable throughout the year. However, in most industries, conditions are not stable: New information, competitors, and business models can completely change the face of an industry within a matter of months.

In Lean-Agile organizations, work is planned, prioritized, and executed in a continuous flow. Agile teams are always collecting data about the performance of their products and services, as well as the market in which their customers operate. Teams, the value stream, and leadership continuously monitor both internal and external conditions to evaluate whether the current focus aligns with larger organizational goals. New proposals are evaluated frequently, typically in alignment with quarterly or mid-range planning cadences.

The continuous flow of Lean budgeting and planning includes space for incorporating new data, feedback, and information, and pivoting plans accordingly. As plans are executed, more data is collected about these and other ongoing initiatives to determine priorities for the near and distant future.

Benefits of Lean Portfolio Management

By taking small steps to implement LPM at the enterprise level, you unlock the ability to maximize value from the portfolio through iterative funding and continuous planning. LPM creates the opportunity for new ideas and organizational pivots. Innovation and delivering the highest-value work first will create the market-trust needed to up-level your organization.

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