Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) in Project Portfolio Management

We have previously seen how an Agile Project management model, can help teams adapt to the dynamic nature of a project, and deliver impressive results. Today, we take a look at how a Scaled Agile Framework or SAFe can bring more alignment into your project portfolio management.

What is SAFe?

The Agile model focused on delivery of project-level results. On the other hand, a SAFe approach looks at the bigger picture. The main purpose of a SAFe is to align projects with larger business objectives and goals.

SAFe does not just look at specific project goals but their impact on long-term corporate objectives. The reason this is important is that it affects the roadmap that an organization takes in the long run.

Typically, managers at the portfolio level are involved in making strategic decisions. This could be anything from estimating project budgets to evaluating where the projects stand with respect to the long-term vision of the company. SAFe can help streamline portfolio level decisions. It can drive better decision-making in terms of the projects that are undertaken or prioritized. It can offer better direction to project portfolios. What’s more is that it can offer more clarity in terms of budget and timeframes, without any under or over-promising in either of these departments.

Portfolio level SAFe

There are various tasks and responsibilities that are to be undertaken to implement SAFe at the portfolio level.

The Portfolio level group may consist of the portfolio manager, product manager and enterprise architects. Portfolio level SAFe is geared at developing architectural epics and business epics.

Architectural epics involve evaluating the existing infrastructure in the organization to see if it meets the needs of the project. The organization may have to bring in new infrastructure if project initiatives demand for the same, and the current infrastructure cannot keep up with the requirements.

Business epics involve reviewing project intakes to see if they are in line with the business goals and objectives. The strategic goals of the business can be outlined, and projects can be accordingly chosen to realize these goals.

Another crucial task at the portfolio level is to review the delivered results and the productivity of the portfolio performance. All these tasks have a common goal – to come up with a checklist of long-term to-do tasks for the organization, driving better direction and decision making across the project portfolio.

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