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Successful Evolutionary Change of Portfolio Management
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Successful Evolutionary Change of Portfolio Management


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Does any of following problems sound familiar? …

Does any of following problems sound familiar?
Too many concurrent projects in the portfolio
Constant struggle to finish commitments on time
Continuous fight for teams and people availability
Frequent project expediting
Disconnection between portfolio management and work organization on a team level
These are typical issues with portfolio management. However, before jumping into solutions we should ask why the issues are so common. The limited visibility of the current situation is one of the root causes. Lack of information about the impact of new commitments on the organization is another. The decision-making process that results in starting too many new endeavors is on the list too. The session would focus on addressing these root causes and not the symptoms.
Instead of a common strategy of formalizing the processes around portfolio management we can use Portfolio Kanban to evolve our way of working with the portfolio. The approach bases on “start with what you have” principle. This means that it doesn’t provoke resistance. Also small, evolutionary changes are preferred over big-bang changes. On the top of that, using the method doesn’t require extensive effort, which increases the odds of sustaining its adoption in the long run.
I will show how this low-friction approach challenges our thinking of project attractiveness, improves our awareness of value, cost of delay, impact on other commitments and risks that aren’t directly related to the project. These should be the key factors to drive our decisions on starting new endeavors.
This is a crucial change that has to happen to enable the evolution of portfolio management. And Portfolio Kanban is a way to catalyze that change.

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  • 1. Successful Evolutionary Change of Portfolio Management Pawel Brodzinski @pawelbrodzinski
  • 2. Hi, I’m Pawel Lunar Logic Blog Twitter @pawelbrodzinski
  • 3. Why portfolio?
  • 4. A system of local optima is not an optimal system at all; it is a very suboptimal system Eli Goldratt
  • 5. Processing the waste more effectively is cheaper, neater, faster waste Stephen Parry
  • 6. More than a single project per team?
  • 7. Cost of context switching Source: Gerald Weinberg, Quality Software Management: Vol. 1 System Thinking
  • 8. Zeigarnik Effect Tendency to experience intrusive thought about an objective left incomplete Source: S. Greist-Bousquet, N. Shiffman: The effect of task interruption and closure on perceived duration
  • 9. Teams that worked only on a single project were significantly better in terms of defects density Larry Maccherone
  • 10. Time to market
  • 11. Deadlines
  • 12. Expediting
  • 13. Meet PMO Manager: The Juggler
  • 14. My first experience was this: 113 ongoing projects for 25 developers Klaus Leopold
  • 15. Why does it happen?
  • 16. What do we see?
  • 17. Excel frenzy
  • 18. WYSIATI What You See Is All There Is Source: Daniel Kahneman: Thinking Fast and Slow
  • 19. Cost-driven decisions
  • 20. If you fall for estimation as your way of valuing projects in the portfolio, you are doomed to fail. Johanna Rothman
  • 21. Visualization
  • 22. Visualization
  • 23.
  • 24. Focus on one level of work
  • 25. Variability!
  • 26. WIP Limits by conversation
  • 27. Shifting discussion from cost and income to value and cost of delay
  • 28. Cost of Delay
  • 29. Key driver to evolution of portfolio management
  • 30. There is more
  • 31. Backlog is a list of unvalidated product options Ellen Gottesdiener
  • 32. Projects and products are (unvalidated) options too
  • 33. Real Options
  • 34. Options have value Options expire Never commit early unless you know why Source: Olav Maassen, Chris Matts, Chris Geary: Real Options
  • 35.
  • 36.
  • 37.
  • 38.
  • 39. Common problems with portfolio management
  • 40. Visualization helps to understand the current situation and informs discussion on starting new projects
  • 41. WIP limits (by conversation) address the problem of too many concurrent projects and steer discussion about value
  • 42. Constraints introduced by the method shift focus from cost and income to value and incentivize saying no
  • 43. Portfolio Kanban is not about choosing the work you do; it’s about choosing the work you don’t do
  • 44. Mind shift from looking through the attractiveness glasses to looking through capabilities glasses
  • 45. Inspirations: Eli Goldratt Stephen Parry (@leanvoices) Don Reinertsen (@dreinertsen) David Anderson (@djaa_dja) Mike Burrows (@asplake) Klaus Leopold (@klausleopold) David Joyce (@dpjoyce) Chris Matts (@papachrismatts) Olav Maassen (@olavmaassen) Ellen Gottesdiener (@ellengott) Jabe Bloom (@cyetain) Troy Magennis (@t_magennis) Johanna Rothman (@johannarothman) Benjamin Mitchell (@benjaminm) Larry Maccherone (@lmaccherone) Gerald Weinberg (@jerryweinberg) Karl Scotland (@kjscotland) Andy Carmichael (@andycarmich) Mary Gorman (@mbgorman)
  • 46. Thank you Pawel Brodzinski @pawelbrodzinski