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Lean Portfolio Mgt for Investment Planning 

  • In every organization, there is at least one constant truth: everybody “demands” something, but there are never enough resources to go around.  Many demands can be IT/operations focused and dispatched with a lean ITSM COBIT5 demand management process – but when investment is required, organizations typically hope that ‘crystal-ball’ forecasting questions were correctly answered:

    • …were enough yearly planning cycle funds budgeted to cover the investments needed?
    • …were the business priorities forecasted correctly?
    • …has IT designed the correct mix of application and technology services to satisfy the business service needs?

    The reality: investment priorities change, driven by current business/operational “ground conditions”.  This impacts the demand for better (or different) business services, causing downstream shifting of IT requirements and priorities for application and technical services.

  • LSA solves this complex orchestration of shifting business and IT priorities with an integrated, holistic approach. A lean IT Service Management (ITSM) “demand” planning process is connected to Lean Portfolio Kanban-style planning process, designed to be more responsive to changing ground conditions, chunking and prioritizing investments into “epics” that are coordinated with IT’s Agile Enterprise Architecture full-solution design (including business processes, apps, and technology).

    Using this lean, integrated “Digital Demand Formula”, LSA leverages its partnership with Scaled Agile Framework for Enterprise to helps organizations build customized, right-size processes to improve lean portfolio investment planning outcomes, to achieve key benefits:

    • IT-demand integrated. Realistic, rapid outcomes to “cover the basics” – e.g., a right-sized “getting started” approach that delivers “agile basics”, combined with key elements of typical IT demand management planning
    • Adaptable to change. Prioritization of highest-value investments based on today’s ground conditions, instead of relying on a yearly budget cycle “crystal ball” approach
    • IT-architecture aligned. IT architecture & design alignment with chunked business priorities using an LSA-innovative “Lean, scaled IT capability chunking” approach
    • Value Stream alignment for People/Customers. A User Experience (UX) centric approach that helps clarify the value streams, based on the needs/pain points of end users / customers, not individual departments (i.e., “participatory budgeting”)
    • Leadership transparency. Enhanced leadership transparency with dashboard-level visibility into Objective and Key Results using LSA’s Agile Enterprise Architecture GQM approach
  • To deliver outcomes, Lean Portfolio Management needs more than processes – it needs people trained and enabled to put the processes into action, making effective use of tooling for a reliable, scalable and cost-effective execution. 

    Integrated Tooling/Automation.  LSA has several partners and tool automation options for enablement of the integrated processes, across the areas of IT Service Management, Lean Portfolio Management, and Enterprise Architecture.

    For example, one or more IT Service Management (ITSM) support tickets in ServiceNow may trigger an “epic” investment in Lean Portfolio tool (e.g., ServiceNow, Atlassian Jira Align, or Digital.AI), and it will be helpful to have the traceability back to “real user demand” as the investment is defined, prioritized, and solutioned.  ARIS and Alfabet are Enterprise Architecture current/future state design tools that define holistic business/IT solutions, such as business processes enabled by “just enough” architectural runway investment (e.g., purchasing a technology base platform to enable plug-in modules to be enabled later).

    LPM tooling can be implemented in two ways:

    • LPM as-a-service (“we fish for you”) – use of LSA’s integrated cloud service applications to implement Lean Portfolio Management services
    • LPM Center-of-Excellence (“we teach you how to fish”) – setup, operations, maintenance and support of Lean Portfolio application services with “enough” configuration and integration to other tooling

    People/Training Enablement.  LSA has several partners and tool automation options for enablement of the integrated processes, across the areas of IT Service Management, Lean Portfolio Management, and Enterprise Architecture. 

    SAFe® (Scaled Agile Framework for Enterprise) courses are offered to train people on the “basic principles” of Enterprise Architecture and Lean Portfolio Management.  For more effective enablement, these courses are enriched with real-world scenarios to help illustrate the lessons, and – as desired – examples can be customized to align with localized processes & tooling, to help make the training more “actionable” after class.


Dani Linn, Director - Agility-at-Scale / Lean Portfolio Mgt
Dani Linn, Director – Agility-at-Scale / Lean Portfolio Mgt

Contact Dani to hear more about how you can improve your organization's agility and/or lean portfolio management, or build your own Lean-Agile Center of Excellence!