Implementing a Cohesive Approach to Agile Portfolio Management in 2020

Agile portfolio management is an essential aspect of an agile methodology for any organization that relies on this cutting edge technology in 2020.
agile portfolio management
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Over the last 15-20 years, Agile has either fully or partly been incorporated into most companies. Why? The reason is that Agile project management practices really work and are proven effective. Research published by Techliance shows that 98% of companies have used Agile and its effectiveness is around 30% higher than Waterfall.

Agile as a mindset and philosophy gets deep into every team and can be integrated into any environment. Agile development is a core part of many organizations these days, due to this multi-faceted viewpoint. This article is about the phenomenon of Agile Portfolio Management, its benefits, and a step-by-step plan of how to implement it.

What is Agile Portfolio Management?

You already know how to work with projects implementing best-working Agile frameworks like Scrum or Kanban, or something else. And what if there are many projects in the company? Here you need Agile Portfolio Management. 

In two words, a portfolio represents a collection of all projects and products that the company is working on to achieve strategic business goals.

The larger the company, the more challenging it is to track all internal processes, and the higher are the risks of improper resource allocation, and that will likely lead to cost overruns, missed deadlines, and a lower quality of the company’s work. Proper portfolio management helps to prevent such situations. This is why more companies are taken data-driven approaches to software development.  

Agile portfolio management is the key to avoid issues with synchronization in the teams arising from a complex company structure and a large number of projects.

Applying Agile practices to the portfolio management strategy helps to set the right priorities in the company, maximize the speed of product release, adapt to market changes, and significantly increase customers’ confidence in the products of the company. These things give your company an essential advantage and help to create connected business infrastructure and stay competitive in today’s economy.

Principles of Agile Portfolio Management

Agile methodology is important, but can be difficult to implement properly. While implementing Agile into Portfolio Management, there are three main principles: 

  • Iterative approach. Planning and dividing tasks into equal sprints is a key point. Such long-term planning is essential for agile teams to work together and share their feedback. While working on a project, teams are free to choose the optimal workload, deadlines and resource allocation. It helps them to achieve flexibility in work and focus on having tangible results in accordance with the company’s development strategy.
  • Sharing knowledge about the projects. It encourages people to overcome the silos between teams working on different projects. To adopt such sharing knowledge practice, start with team meetings at organizational level, to build trust and respect among colleagues at different levels, a sense of shared responsibility, and smooth transparent work across the organization.
  • Shorter releases. To have detailed information about every project, the teams should have consistent sprint cycles, create a reliable API, automated testing chains and product deployment.

The Main Steps of Agile Portfolio Management

Step 1. Portfolio audit

To clearly understand which of your projects is the most valuable and which one brings you losses, the very first step is a general projects audit. Study every project of the company, give priority, and collect them into one or several portfolios. Match the value of each project with the company’s strategy and market demand.

Step 2. Creating agile portfolio

At this stage, it is essential to assess possible risks and allocate resources between projects to avoid costs and technical shortcomings. Create an Agile portfolio to reduce the cost of delays, taking into account the business goals, budget, and company strategy.

Step 3. Launching Agile portfolio

Think of managing all projects and get Agile/ITSM training sessions for the teams. Implement an iterative approach not only to your projects but also to investment, analyzing value to your customers at every stage of product development and ensuring that they work over the long term. Building a smart Agile portfolio benefits from the right software and infrastructure. Agile programs tools like Jira help set the right priorities for a company’s projects, taking into account its strategy and organize the collaborative work, and sharing knowledge of every project. 

Actuality of Agile Portfolio Management in 2020

Agile Project management is the art of gaining maximum value from projects using an iterative and flexible approach. People and their collaborative work and readiness to change priorities and everything to reach common corporate goals are more important than following the strict plan no matter what happens in the company. With it, you can see the real picture and get a real understanding of how to meet customer demands and stay competitive.

Agile Portfolio Management Must Be Properly Instituted

As companies grow up and adopt Agile practices, it’s essential to align new approaches to their Portfolio Management. Agility at the enterprise level helps companies become stronger and more adaptable in today’s changing world. With Agile Portfolio Management, we can see collaborative and transparent work at every level of the organization aimed at gaining the strategic goals of the company.

Matt Bertram
MATT BERTRAM, C.P.C., is the Co-Host of the most popular SEO podcast on iTunes. He is the Lead Digital Marketing Strategist and CEO at eWebResults, a top internet marketing agency since 1999 focused on driving traffic though multi-channel marketing built on Organic SEO as the backbone.