Enterprises must learn how to adapt quickly to the digital age or become extinct, no matter their size, their strength, or how smart they are. Business agility isn’t an option; it’s a business imperative.

“The world is now changing at a rate which the basic systems, structures, cultures built over the past century cannot keep up with the demands being placed on them”

John P. Kotter

Successfully defining and executing a strategy in a world of increasing uncertainty is challenging. It requires portfolio management practices modernised by applying Lean-Agile thinking and a portfolio organised around value streams that deliver a continuous flow of value to the enterprise’s customers.

One of the key challenges to achieving business agility is aligning technology development to business strategy. The act of defining and communicating an aligned strategy for the enterprise is not simple and yet nothing could be more critical to improving overall business outcomes.

What changes might this mean?

Traditional approaches to portfolio management are not designed for today’s rapid pace of digital disruption. Businesses must work with more uncertainty while delivering innovative solutions faster. As a result, portfolio management approaches must quickly evolve to a Lean-Agile way of working.

  • People organised to deliver business ‘value streams’ rather than functional silos
  • Funding aligned to value streams rather than projects
  • Dynamically adjusted planning rather than top-down annual planning cycles
  • Portfolio demand managed in a Kanban approach rather than centralized, unlimited and wish based
  • Business cases are lean, based on hypotheses rather than speculative return on investment
  • Values streams empowered to deliver incremental delivery of working solutions rather than milestones, phased gates and task-by-task completion tracking

The Result?

Strategy and investment funding ensures the ‘right work’ is happening at the ‘right time.’ Continuous and early feedback on current initiatives, coupled with a Lean approach to funding, allows the portfolio to make the necessary adjustments to meet its business targets. Agile portfolio operations facilitate coordination across the portfolio’s value streams, maintaining alignment between strategy and execution, and fostering continued operational excellence. Lean governance closes the loop by measuring portfolio performance and supporting dynamic adjustments to budgets to maximize value.

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