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Project Portfolio Management icon

Unify a Mixed Methodology Portfolio

Improve portfolio oversight and agility without going old school command and control.

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Your Challenge

  • As portfolio manager, you oversee a portfolio made up of projects using different types of planning and execution methodologies – from traditional Waterfall, to Agile, to hybrid approaches and beyond. The discontinuity between reporting metrics and funding models makes a holistic and perpetually actionable view of the portfolio elusive.
  • Agile’s influence is growing within the organization’s project ecosystem. Even projects that don’t formally use Agile methods often adopt agile tendencies, such as mitigating risk with shorter, more iterative development cycles and increasing collaboration with stakeholders. While this has introduced efficiencies at the project level, it has not translated into business agility, with decision makers still largely playing a passive role in terms of steering the portfolio.
  • Senior management still expects traditional commitments and deadlines, not “sprints” and “velocity.” The reluctance of many Agile purists to adhere to traditional timeline, budget, and scope commitments is not making Agile a particularly popular conversation topic among the organization’s decision-making layer.
  • As portfolio manager, it’s your job to unify these two increasingly fragmented worlds into a unified portfolio.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • As Agile’s influence grows and project methodologies morph and proliferate, a more engaged executive layer is required than what we see in a traditional portfolio approach. Portfolio owners have to decide what gets worked on at a regular cadence.
  • What’s the difference? In the old paradigm, nobody stopped the portfolio owners from approving too much. Decisions were based on what should be done, rather than what could get done in a given period, with the resources available.
  • The engaged portfolio succeeds by making sure that the right people work on the right things as much as possible. The portfolio owner plays a key, ongoing role in identifying the work that needs to be done, and the portfolio managers optimize the usage of resources.

Impact and Result

  • Establish universal control points. While the manager of a mixed methodology portfolio doesn’t need to enforce a standardized project methodology, she or he does need to establish universal control points for both intake and reporting at the portfolio level. Use this research to help you define a sustainable process that will work for all types of projects.
  • Scale the approvals process. For a mixed methodology portfolio to work, the organization needs to reconcile different models for approving and starting projects. This blueprint will help you define a right-sized intake process and decision-making paradigm for sprints and project phases alike.
  • Foster ongoing executive engagement. Mixed methodology success is contingent on regular and ongoing executive engagement. Use the tools and templates associated with this blueprint to help get buy-in and commitment upfront, and then to build out portfolio reports and dashboard that will help keep the executive layer informed and engaged long term.

Research & Tools

Start here – read the Executive Brief

Read our concise Executive Brief to find out why you should consider an Engaged Agile Portfolio approach, review Info-Tech’s methodology, and understand the four ways we can support you in completing this project.

1. Get portfolio commitments

Assess the current state of the portfolio and ensure that portfolio owners and other stakeholders are onboard before you move forward to develop and implement new portfolio processes.

2. Define your portfolio processes

Wireframe standardized portfolio processes for all project methodologies to follow.

3. Implement your processes

Pilot your new portfolio processes and decision-making paradigm. Then, execute a change impact analysis to inform your communications strategy and implementation plan.

Guided Implementations

This guided implementation is a nine call advisory process.

Guided Implementation #1 - Get portfolio commitments

Call #1 - Scoping call.
Call #2 - Analyze the current state of the portfolio.
Call #3 - Prepare a stakeholder presentation.

Guided Implementation #2 - Define your portfolio processes

Call #1 - Define a portfolio intake workflow.
Call #2 - Establish a project prioritization process.
Call #3 - Develop a process to balance sprint supply and demand.
Call #4 - Define project and portfolio reporting requirements.

Guided Implementation #3 - Implement your processes

Call #1 - Plan an Engage Agile Portfolio Pilot Implementation.
Call #2 - Review the change impacts of your Engaged Agile Portfolio to help assess sustainability.

Onsite Workshop

Discuss This Workshop

Book Your Workshop

Onsite workshops offer an easy way to accelerate your project. If you are unable to do the project yourself, and a Guided Implementation isn't enough, we offer low-cost onsite delivery of our project workshops. We take you through every phase of your project and ensure that you have a roadmap in place to complete your project successfully.

Module 1: Assess Current State of the Portfolio

The Purpose

  • Determine the current state of your project execution and portfolio oversight practices.
  • Align different types of projects within a unified portfolio.
  • Define the best roles and engagement strategies for individual stakeholders as you transition to an Engaged Agile Portfolio.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • A current state understanding of project and portfolio management challenges.
  • Bolster the business case for developing an Engaged Agile Portfolio.
  • Increase stakeholder and team buy-in.

Activities

Outputs

1.1

Calculate the size of your portfolio in human resource hours.

  • Your portfolio’s project capacity in resource hours.
1.2

Estimate your project sizes and current project methodology mix.

  • Better understanding of project demand and portfolio mix.
1.3

Document the current known status of your in-flight projects.

  • Current state visibility.
1.4

Perform a project execution portfolio oversight survey.

  • An objective assessment of current areas of strengths and weaknesses.

Module 2: Define Your Portfolio Processes

The Purpose

  • Objectively and transparently approve, reject, and prioritize projects.
  • Prioritize work to start and stop on a sprint-by-sprint basis.
  • Maintain a high frequency of accurate reporting.
  • Assess and report the realization of project benefits.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Improve timeliness and accuracy of project portfolio reporting.
  • Make better, faster decisions about when to start and stop work on different projects.
  • Increase stakeholder satisfaction.

Activities

Outputs

2.1

Develop a portfolio intake workflow.

  • An intake workflow.
2.2

Develop a prioritization scorecard and process.

  • A prioritization scorecard and process.
2.3

Establish a process to estimate sprint demand and resource supply.

  • A process to estimate sprint demand and resource supply.
2.4

Develop a process to estimate sprint value and necessity.

  • A process to estimate sprint value and necessity.

Module 3: Implement Your Processes

The Purpose

  • Analyze the potential change impacts of your new portfolio processes and how they will be felt across the organization.
  • Develop an implementation plan to ensure strategy buy-in.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • A strategic and well-planned approach to process implementation.

Activities

Outputs

3.1

Analyze change impacts of new portfolio processes.

  • A change impact analysis.
3.2

Prepare a communications plan based upon change impacts.

  • A communications plan.
3.3

Develop an implementation plan.

  • An implementation plan.
3.4

Present new portfolio processes to portfolio owners.

  • Portfolio strategy buy-in.

Search Code: 74687
Published: April 21, 2014
Last Revised: June 26, 2018