Agile Enterprise Portfolio Management for Release Orientation

May 6, 2014 2:52:35 AM / by Naeem Hussain

Naeem Hussain

The third foundation –Agile Enterprise Portfolio Management– A lean project funding and tracking process that ensures Just In Time funding of ideas, so that the rest of the machinery can deliver the value at a rapid pace. In traditional organizations, budgeting and pre-planning ideas for the long term and short term – many a times put the organization in a position to not pick up and work on ideas that are demanded by the market because the internal processes of the companies do not aid the company to be agile and nimble to react to market conditions. So, while your development organization may have adopted agile delivery processes, it does not truly help if your project intake process is still stuck in the 60’s.

In our several years of working at large enterprises trying to get Continuous Business Value Delivery® to break out, we have experienced several lean portfolio management practices that can help organizations.

One of the first things that any organization needs to solve for is a longer term (e.g. 12 month) rolling roadmap that allows for the organization to make changes and be nimble at the top. Ensuring that the no one feels compelled to “stick with a plan” – instead, the focus is on delivering value continuously in the near term which ensuring that strategy can be adapted to market conditions any time – from the near future to the distant horizon. Creating Product Roadmaps and sharing with teams creates the transparency that is necessary to motivate team members and enables participants to actively comprehend the dependencies between initiatives as they do release plans.

Secondly, turning the near term deliveries into short term (3 to 4) sprint detailed roadmaps, enabling teams to think and plan how they would approach their work and technical decisions based on both the long term needs as well as short term deliveries help the teams immensely. Create Team level roadmaps with strong steel thread management to understand and resolve release dependencies

Third, create simple but effective Risk Awareness Capabilities, incorporating both business and technical risk and a clear risk mitigation plan.

Fourth, have a collaborative Architecture Governance body. Include risk, security, operations, development and portfolio managers at the start of the initiative. Incorporate findings from architecture reviews and previous release findings into the next product and releases and create the continuous feedback cycle at the portfolio level.

Finally, incorporate release metrics into your portfolio build out – allocation of budget and resources, tightly tied in with architecture governance, generate program level road-maps, mid-term (3 months, ex) views from program down to the team. Utilize appropriate Agile Life-cycle Management tools to collect data, and figure out integration to your capital asset management tools to manage depreciation and allocation of budgets.

Without a lean implementation of Portfolio Management, it will be difficult to achieve Release Orientation.



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Topics: Release Orientation, Enterprise Portfolio Management, Digital Strategy, Product Portfolio Management

Written by Naeem Hussain

Naeem Hussain is the COO of CirrusLabs. In this role, he focuses on advisory services for the leadership team of respective organizations for enterprise transformation, scaling agile adoption across the enterprise, creating in-sourcing strategies, and implementing DevOps practices. During his consulting career, Mr. Hussain has worked with large corporate clients such as Capital One Bank, Angie's List, Urban Outfitters, Pointroll, General Services Administration, Anthem Health and Transamerica.With an MBA from the University of Chicago and an M.S. degree from the George Washington University, Mr. Hussain has held various leadership and executive positions with Siemens, ING DIRECT, Capital, COO of MGRM Holdings and Co-founder and CFO of AgileTrailblazers . Mr. Hussain also serves as a member of the George Washington University School of Engineering & Applied Sciences National Advisory Council.

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