Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Session Notes: Day 1 (2/5) 10-10:50 Portfolio Management in Agile (Brown)

Hello – below I’ve captured notes from the session to be shared.


Primary Problem/Topic: How do we handle portfolio management in an Agile world when organizations still have aspects of a command and control atmosphere (Facilitator Jerry Metcalf)


  • Large organization
  • Agile has been around for some time with pockets of agile have taken hold
  • Primarily a ground up but not far enough to the portfolio level
  • Limited ability to access leadership/get top down support


General Notes:

  • Some discussion around setting up a Community of Practice which contained the agile coaches trying to focus on ways to work on key barriers:
    • On the ground folks – limited time to spend on transformation
    • General management – want to have speed without as much time for maturing and learning the processes
    • Higher management – focused on larger business goals and less on day to day needs and removed from the process
  • Problems with changing mindsets and instead have very date driven teams
    • Discussed shifting mindset of what benefits can occur by giving up control? Ideally you can have the right people making the right decisions
    • Build trust in delivery and have product Demos.  Noticed examples of inviting executives or leadership to demos to help see the value
    • Give power to PO to prioritize the work and focus on value vs. date
    • Celebrating mistakes – the feeling was most everyone when starting out will make mistakes and need to have a way to encourage this
    • Show data! Use empirical data to show what the problem is.  Some data might be based on how fast competitors are able to move based on implementing Agile (speed to market)
  • One example talked about reorganizing their IT organization to their capability/value stream
    • Each capability/value stream had their own backlog
    • Currently were successful in prioritizing and maintaining their backlog (w/Product Owner) within the individual value stream but haven’t fully scaled up across the whole portfolio. 
      • At first noticed issues with teams pulling work out of priority order, worked with team to resolve this over time
    • The intention is to eventually have leaders stack rank their priorities across all value streams
    • Their approach was to take their larger, high profile project as an example of implementing Agile
  • Another example was about top down and bottom up approaches
    • It was shared there was about 6 months of both occurring whereby C-level were attending the demos to show their top down support and celebrate mistakes
    • Without top down support it can be difficult to make expansive progress
  • Book recommendations (links added):


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