Lean Portfolio Management

Lean Portfolio Management

This show continues a chapter by chapter discussion about the new book, Lean-Agile Software Development: Achieving Enterprise Agility, by Alan Shalloway, Guy Beaver, and Jim Trott.

This show focuses on Chapter 4, Lean Portfolio Management. The premise is that managing the work you are feeding the team is more important than how well the team works.

What you want is for the business to drive small increments, giving the development team just enough to get value out at a sustainable pace. It is possible to do a better job planning! There are many techniques and that is the subject of another book. However, just knowing about shorter planning increments does help. Smaller, well-defined things running through the pipeline is better than big batches that clog things up.

There is another benefit. We build these big project plans and even though we know they won’t work as laid out, they seem to take a life of their own. If someone proposes a change request, it is a huge effort because those plans are so cumbersome. Lean portfolio management cuts through all of this! Since we are planning in shorter cycles, if a new change comes through, we just compare it with all of the other requirements in the next cycle and insert it if has higher business value. Those change boards – so bedeviling – become a thing of the past.

About Lean-Agile Software Development: Achieving Enterprise Agility

The motivation of this book is to create a bigger picture what teams transitioning to agile need to do. Yes, teams need to understand the mechanics of the approach to get working, but there is more. Management needs to understand how to help teams work together. Business leadership prioritizing the right things to be working on. And there is a need to ensure technical quality so that development can be done in a sustainable way.

We also want to introduce Lean and how it applies to the transition. We don’t believe “scaling up” is a very effective approach. Rather, taking a more holistic view is needed to get success. That is how Lean thinking helps.

This is not a book for experienced practitioners but for those who are picking Agile, Scrum, or Lean for software development. We expect you do understand a bit about Agile but not anything about Lean.