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Lean Portfolio Management: Enabling Enterprise Agility

Plan, fund, and deliver the value that matters most.

Achieve Enterprise Agility with Lean Portfolio Management


Enterprise or Business agility is defined as how an organization can quickly sense and respond to change in the market and within their organization. To obtain true enterprise agility, organizations need to think beyond scaling Agile to the teams (team of teams), and more about how to fundamentally change the operational structure, processes, and procedures are preventing their business from adapting and responding to customer needs. Often, this is where enterprises begin to evaluate new planning and funding models that help them pivot and fund high priority initiatives and kill off lower value ones.. At this point, organizations may determine they need a nimbler portfolio management system, process, or model to fully embrace the speed of their market. This is where Lean Portfolio Management comes in.

Organizations today are submerged in a world of constant change. Whether it is competitors launching new product offerings, customers demanding different products and services, or the introduction of new industry paradigms, change is all around. Executives know their leadership must adopt a new way of portfolio management to stay relevant in today’s economy.

Unlike traditional portfolio management, Lean Portfolio Management principles allow organizations to work more effectively, reducing wasted time and effort while continuously prioritizing customer needs.

To realize vision to value faster, organizations must focus on:

  • Strategic and Investment Funding: Learn how to organize funding and funding processes around key value areas.
  • Agile Operations: Create teams to help drive alignment across the organization as it shifts to more lean ways of working.
  • Lean Governance: Uncover how to apply Lean guardrails for value stream funding and more continuous planning.
Lean Portfolio Management for the Enterprise

Whitepaper

Lean Portfolio Management for the Enterprise

What Is It and How Is It Changing Value Delivery?



Challenge the market and compete to win


To deliver customer value faster in today’s economy, organizations need to disrupt the market and challenge competitors.

To do this, it’s time to consider a Lean and Agile Delivery solution that is built for scaling Agile beyond the teams, connecting strategic plans to the delivery of work. Check out the latest 2019 Gartner® Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Agile Planning Tools to better understand your choices in enterprise-level Agile planning software.

Compare Planview’s Lean and Agile solution to others and learn why we are the best choice for organizations starting an Agile journey or seeking more enterprise agility. Planview’s continued investment in Lean and Agile delivery is apparent in this year’s report.

Become a challenger in your market with Planview.

Gartner: 2019 Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Agile Planning Tools

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Gartner: 2019 Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Agile Planning Tools

Gartner has named Planview a Challenger in the April 2019 Gartner “Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Agile Planning Tools” based on its ability to execute and completeness of vision.



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Tell the CFO the Agile Team Isn’t Asking for a Blank Check

Webinar

Lean Portfolio Management

Learn how Lean Portfolio Management is changing planning and funding within the enterprise.

Solution Brief

Accelerate Lean and Agile Delivery

Orchestrate Agile at Scale – From Teams to the Enterprise

eBook

The Challenges of Agile Software Development Costing and Capitalization

Connect Agile and Finance to better capitalize Agile development

Video

Transforming RBS

From PPM Toward Scaled Agile Across the Enterprise

Report

Digital Business Requires Agile Financial Planning

Download now to learn more on making the shift to Lean Portfolio Management.

What is Lean Portfolio Management?

eBook

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.

eBook

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!

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.

What is the PMO’s role in Lean Portfolio Management?

Whitepaper

Lean Portfolio Management for the PMO

Learn the best practices for how a PMO shepherds the enterprise-wide shift from traditional portfolio management to Lean Portfolio Management.

To stay relevant in today’s economy, organizations must shift from traditional portfolio management to Lean Portfolio Management, and the PMO plays a pivotal role. Because of where the PMO sits in the organization, they can shepherd in the change needed for organizations to succeed, connecting enterprise leadership with Agile delivery groups.

Evolving from traditional management to Lean Portfolio Management doesn’t happen overnight. It requires the PMO to employ the same logic and processes used historically to foster tight alignment between strategy, initiatives, and investments, but with less rigidity and more frequent planning reviews and cycles that create more transparency, visibility, responsiveness, and flexibility.

If the PMO focuses on the right changes, they can champion the shift to Lean Portfolio Management and show the value of their part of the organization.

  • Strategic Alignment – The role of the PMO shifts in LPM to support strategic alignment by managing the cross-team dependencies and risks, providing insight and feedback to leadership and the value streams.
  • Resource Management and Capacity Planning – It’s the job of the PMO to provide the organizational leadership with the information needed to ensure the value streams have the right amount of capacity to deliver value.
  • Iterative Delivery or Releases – Because of where the PMO sits in the organization, they support continuous planning in LPM by maintaining alignment regardless of work management or methodology.
  • Just Enough Governance – With the help of the PMO, prioritized items flow through the teams with more efficiency and speed, providing “just enough” guidance to achieve value-based delivery.
  • Lean-Agile Culture Shift – The PMO must evolve from command-and-control management to servant leadership to support a shift to Lean Portfolio Management, fostering autonomy throughout the value chain.

Understanding the PMO’s role in the overall enterprise shift from traditional portfolio management to Lean Portfolio Management is imperative to the organization’s ability to achieve enterprise agility.

Whitepaper

Lean Portfolio Management for the PMO

Learn the best practices for how a PMO shepherds the enterprise-wide shift from traditional portfolio management to Lean Portfolio Management.

Lean and Agile Software from Planview

Planview’s Lean and Agile Delivery solution enables organizations to adopt and embrace Lean-Agile practices, scale Agile beyond teams, and connect strategy to Agile team delivery while continuously improving the flow of work, and helping them work smarter and deliver faster. With Planview, choose how you want to scale and when. We’ll help you transform and scale Agile on your terms and timeline.