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Overview of my year 2017 book reviews and QRCs

2017 was a fruitful book year. I wrote many book reviews including corresponding quick reference cards and several personal insights, and views on specific topics in the field of project, program and portfolio management and I wrote two books Scaling agile in organisaties, and Agile with a smile.

overview 2017 (reviews, 171222) v1.0

Agile portfolio management


Project management and PMO


overview 2017 (reviews + QRCs, 171222) v1.0

Quick Reference Cards:

  • QRC AgilePfM
  • QRC P3M3
  • QRC Best Value Project Management
  • QRC How to do projects – A Nordic flavour to managing projects
  • QRC Manage your project portfolio
  • QRC Goal Driven Agile
  • QRC De Team-ontwikkeling-schijf
  • QRC Overtuigen
  • QRC The agility shift
  • QRC The Relational Web
  • QRC Lean UX

Review: AgilePfM – Agile Portfolio Management

agilepfm_coverThe Agile Business Consortium has given detailed insights in the Portfolio Innovation Hub as part of their Agile Business Change Framework by publishing the book AgilePfM – Agile Portfolio Management (Editorial team: Barbara Roberts, Peter Coesmans, Peter Measey and Steve Messenger).

This pocketbook focuses on management of a single portfolio and is divided in 13 chapters (a supplementary Complex Agile Portfolio publication will follow).

AgilePfM is centered on six core behaviors:

  1. Focus on the creation of value
  2. Review the portfolio continuously
  3. Involve the right people to shape and manage the portfolio
  4. Clearly and continuously demonstrate that the portfolio is delivering optimum value
  5. Encourage innovation and creativity
  6. Encourage collaboration and empowerment

Besides the explanation behind the behaviors we get an overview of different organizational challenges and corresponding agile portfolio management guidance.

AgilePfM use some basic concepts of an innovation hub, an agile portfolio process, maturity of the initiatives within the portfolio as well as horizons for an agile portfolio. See the attached AgilePfM Quick Reference Card.

AgilePfM (QRC, 171213) v1.0To download: AgilePfM (QRC, 171213) v1.0

The portfolio process is divided in four steps:

  • Step 1 – Confirm portfolio drivers
  • Step 2 – Confirm portfolio foundations
  • Step 3 – Deliver the change
  • Step 4 – Keep it current – Reassessing strategy and portfolio alignment

Without a strategy, it makes no sense. The VMOST (Vision, Mission, Objectives, Strategy, Tactics) is explained as well as some points to consider when creating and managing an agile strategy. For effective agile portfolios, the following rules should be considered:

  1. If it’s in the portfolio, it must be in the strategy
  2. If there is no strategy, STOP! DO NOT proceed without one
  3. Constantly review the portfolio and adjust when required. No one-off exercise!
  4. Concentrate prioritizing, blending, balancing on the near-term horizon

Initiatives can be divided based on their maturity within the portfolio:

  • Unformed, nebulous ideas
  • (Future) immature, starting to have some shape
  • (Future) ready, clearer and prioritized
  • Current, value being created
  • Completed, value being tracked
  • Reality, value delivered to the organization

In a separate chapter, several areas of consideration are given to help you formulate an idea generation process (defined and communicated method, respectful and open-minded evaluation of every idea and an idea must be treated as any other initiative)

The expected context of the rolling wave portfolio plan is dynamic and will change as events occur, both inside and outside the portfolio. The portfolio considers three horizons:

  • Longer-term horizon (from a few months to several years)
  • Near-term horizon (typically a few months)
  • Today (snapshot view).

A separate chapter explores the budgeting dilemma and what agile budgeting means including the relation between portfolio and budget and how budgeting aligns with the six core behaviors. Agile portfolio management emphasizes the importance of the delivery of value

Several roles can be distinguished in the portfolio innovation hub. In the model, we see two groups: The influencers, stakeholders and beneficiaries and on the other hand the core change participants.

The first group delivers the business change and innovation leadership for the portfolio and strategy and for each individual initiative the business change ownership as well as the change coordination. Often known as the portfolio board. Idea generation can come from anyone in the organization.

The core change participants deliver change support, change co-ordination, change analysis and expert guidance. This group can be seen as the portfolio management team or portfolio office.

Effective agile portfolio governance ensures the portfolio remains aligned to the overarching strategy and goals of the organization. The following principles will help to achieve this:

  • Ensure value drives priority (do the right things)
  • Never compromise quality (Do the things right)
  • Decide with the initiatives, don’t manage them
  • Give clear considered direction
  • Stay informed

Conclusion: When we think of portfolio management we often think of more traditional portfolio management as described in Management of Portfolios (MoP, AXELOS) or the Standard for Portfolio Management (PMI). When we look at agile portfolio management we find some guidance in the portfolio SAFe configuration and Disciplined Agile (DA). AgilePfM offers a combination of both worlds. The concepts of initiative maturity and rolling wave planning horizons make sense. The rules and behaviors are a combination of the more traditional and the agile ways of working. I miss the set-up of a portfolio Kanban board to visualize and manage the flow (by using WIP limits). This is absolutely a pocketbook that is worth reading.

To order: AgilePfM – Agile Portfolio Management

P3M3 Maturity Model Assessment

A few years ago I created a P3M3 Quick Reference Card. See P3M3 QRC.

P3M3_Digital-Badge-352x352As a consequence of receiving the P3M3 Assessor badge from AXELOS after I passed for the P3M3 Consultant examination, I had to update my P3M3 QRC to correspond with the latest P3M3 version.

At this moment AXELOS offers P3M3 version 3.  This model is based on the five known maturity levels: Level 1 : Awareness of process, Level 2 : Repeatable process, Level 3 : Defined process, Level 4 : Managed process, Level 5 : Optimized process.

In P3M3 version 3 we see the three models reflecting portfolio (PfM3), Programme (PgM3) and Project (PjM3) Management. We still see the same seven perspectives: Management Control, Benefits Management, Financial Management, Stakeholder Management, Risk Management, Organizational Governance and Resource Management. P3M3 can be used independently of your chosen project, programme or portfolio management method or framework.

P3M3 V3 (QRC, 171205) v1.0

To download: P3M3 V3 (QRC, 171205) v1.0

New are the max. 13 threads: Asset Management, Assurance, Behaviors, Commercial Commissioner, Commercial Deliverer, Information and Knowledge Management, Infrastructure and Tools, Model Integration, Organization, Planning, Process, Standards and Techniques. The most detailed questions are now the diagnostic attribute statements.

You can perform, by yourself, a Standard self assessment (for free) or Enhanced self assessment (subscription). The latter offers you on top of the standard self assessment a maturity tracker, detailed results and a benchmark.

It is also possible, via an accredited consulting organization to perform a full accreditation assessment resulting in your maturity level based on P3M3 or a full further diagnostic assessment including an improvement plan to achieve the next maturity level.

HWP Consulting, as an Accredited P3M3 Consulting Organization can help you in performing a P3M3 full accreditation assessment or full further diagnostic assessment including an improvement plan based on your own objectives. To avoid bias we can facilitate your self assessment as well.

Global standards and publications Edition 2018/2019

2017_GSAP-180x150Van Haren Publishing send me their latest Global standards and publications Edition 2018/2019.

A handsome guide containing short summaries (3 minutes) of many standards including the Van Haren publishing portfolio.

I am one of the authors of a couple of these summaries.

In this guide, you can find:

  • 20 standards in the field from IT & IT Management: Agile, Scrum, Devops, ASL, CMMi, COBIT, e-CF, ISO/IEC20000, ISO/IEC27000, ISO38500, ISM, ITIL, Lean IT, AIM, BRM, IT-CMF, SFIA, SAF, TRIM, VeriSM)
  • 12 standards in the field of Project Management: Axelos family (PRINCE2 2017, MSP, MoP, P3O, P3M3, M_o_R, MoV), ICB4, PMBoK, ISO21500, ISO3100, Praxis
  • 3 standards in the field of Enterprise architecture: ArchiMate, IT4IT, TOGAF
  • 9 standards in the field of Business Management: Balanced scorecard, BiSL, BiSL Next, eSCM-CL/SP, OPBoK, Operating Model Canvas, Six Sigma, SqEME

If I compare this guide with the Edition 2016/2017 we see the following additions:

IT & IT Management:

  • ISM: IT Service Management
  • SAF: Service Automation Framework
  • TRIM: The Rational IT Model
  • VeriSM: Value-driven Evolving Responsive Integrated Service Management

Project Management:

  • Praxis: The free framework for project, programme and portfolio management

Business Management

  • BiSL Next: includes Business Information Management (BIM)
  • Operating Model Canvas: aligning operations and organization with strategy

Bestellen: Global standards and publications Edition 2018/2019

2017 Scrum guide revision

Schermafdruk 2017-11-08 10.03.18Yesterday (November 7) Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland presented the Scrum Guide revision.
They started with a brief history of Scrum and explained the essence of Scrum followed by the main part of this webinar. The Scrum Guide 2017 is updated on responses to input from Scrum users.
The following topics were discussed:
  • Uses of Scrum (beyond IT)
  • Refined the role of the Scrum Master (promoting and supporting Scrum by helping everyone understand Scrum theory, practices, rules, and values, within the culture of the organization)
  • Daily Scrum is for inspection and adaption to ensure progress towards the sprint goal (how can we move the backlog to done?)
  • Time-boxes cary a maximum length (the words “at most” are added)
  • Sprint Backlog includes feedback from the sprint retrospective. To ensure continuous improvement, the sprint backlog must contain at least one high priority process improvement identified in the previous retrospective meeting).
In the last part of the session some common misconceptions were addressed:
  • Is Scrum only relevant to software delivery? No
  • Can I release before the end of the sprint? Yes
  • What about DevOps? Already after the first sprints you have to prove the product is viable and will produce value. This asks for an operational environment.
To download the new Scrum guide: www.scrumguides.org
To watch the video of the Scrum Guide Revision Webinar: video of the Scrum Guide Revision Webinar, where you can download the used presentation too.


Sent from my iPad

If you need to structure, explain or summarize, use a canvas

images-2It all started with the success of the Business Model Canvas and due to that success, many more canvasses for different purposes were created. In several of my posts I showed one or more. It’s a perfect instrument to avoid bulky, inaccessible, standalone, and illegible documents. It’s also a tool that increases collaboration between all involved stakeholders and it will help to create buy-in.

On business level:


The business model canvas

value proposition

The value proposition canvas


The operating model canvas


Operational + value proposition + business model canvas:  The enhanced business model canvas

On portfolio level: The portfolio canvas


On program level:  The program canvas


On project level: the Project canvas


Kickoff canvas


On team level:  The team canvas


On change level: The change canvas


Review: Manage your project portfolio

9781680501759-480x600Johanna Rothman wrote the book Manage your portfolio Second edition – Increase your capacity – Finish more projects. A book for the more professional portfolio manager or as mentioned on the back of the book: Expert skill level.

If you are facing too many projects, if firefighting and multitasking are keeping you from finishing any of them, this book will help you to manage your portfolio. It makes use of agile and lean ways of working and brings the biggest benefits when you are running your projects in an agile way too. Projects become to be delivered features and evaluation means prioritizing feature sets. In the quick reference card, I highlighted the way the author promotes the usage of Kanban boards to manage your portfolio and it visualizes some of the decisions to be taken.

Manage your portfolio (QRC, 171017) v1.0

To download: Manage your portfolio (QRC, 171017) v1.0

The author divided the book in fourteen chapters and these chapters gives you a step by step approach to build your portfolio. All chapters end with several situations and possible responses to try.

  1. Meet your project portfolio: It’s not your customer who cares about your portfolio. If you are facing issues to finish projects, if you want to deliver faster, more often and qualitative good products to your customer, you need a portfolio
  2. See your future: by managing your portfolio you make the organization’s choices transparent. It becomes clear what to work on first, second, third. It will help to avoid multitasking. What does it mean if you apply lean approaches to your project portfolio? You must think in terms of value, let teams work in small chunks that they can handle and complete
  3. Create the first draft of your portfolio: start collecting all the work before you attempt to evaluate and determine whether you need to do it now. When needed organize sets of projects into programs. Divide your projects in feature sets or Minimum Marketable Features. Not all feature sets are equally important.
  4. Evaluate your projects: the very first decision is about whether you want to commit to this project, kill the project, or transform the project in some way before continuing. If you don’t want to commit but you can’t kill it either put the project on a project parking lot (name, data, value discussion and notes) so you don’t lose track of it.
  5. Rank the portfolio: You can use many methods to rank. The author discusses the rank with Cost of Delay, business value points (divide a total number of points across your projects), by risk, organization’s context, by tour product’s position in the marketplace or by using pairwise comparison, single or double elimination.
  6. Collaborate on the portfolio: Making portfolio decisions is never a single person’s decision. Facilitate portfolio evaluation meetings.
  7. Iterate on the portfolio: Set an iteration length for your review cycles. This cycle length is affected by your project life cycle (agile delivery gives you the opportunity to have shorter review cycles), your product roadmap, and budgeting cycle.
  8. Make portfolio decisions: Conduct portfolio evaluation meetings at least quarterly to start with, decide how often to review the project parking lot. How are you going to cope with advanced R&D projects? Build a project portfolio Kanban (create backlog, evaluate, project work, assess/validate and maintain) to manage your portfolio.
  9. Visualize your project portfolio: Create a calendar view of your projects with predicted dates. Show not only your staffed projects but your unstaffed work too.
  10. Scaling portfolio management to an enterprise: What are the consequences of resource efficiency thinking (100% resource utilization is 0% flow)? How can you scale by starting bottom up or top down? You need both but scale with care. Do you know your enterprise’s mission or strategy otherwise it will be very difficult, if not impossible to make large decisions? Set up a corporate project portfolio meeting to answer the questions which projects help to implement our strategy and which project distract us from our strategy.
  11. Evolve your portfolio: Using lean can help you to evolve your portfolio approach. What does it mean if you stabilize the time-box or the number of work items in progress (see Naked planning video too).
  12. Measure the essentials: for a lean or agile approach consider the following measures: team’s velocity (current and historical), amount of work in progress (cycle and lead time, cumulative flow), obstacles preventing the team to move faster (how long in progress), product backlog burn-up chart, run rate. Never measure individual productivity.
  13. Define your mission: Brainstorm the essentials of a mission, refine the mission (specify strong verbs, eliminate adverbs, avoid jargon), iterate until you feel comfortable, test your mission, make the mission real for everyone.
  14. Start somewhere…but start!

Conclusion. Johanna Rothman wrote a must read for portfolio managers who are struggling with their role when their organization is moving towards more business agility, with more and more permanent agile teams in place but also for the traditional portfolio manager, facing too many projects and almost no delivery to get hands-on practical advice to start organizing their portfolios.

To order: Manage your portfolio Second edition – Increase your capacity – Finish more projects.

Naked Planning Overview by Arlo Belshee

Arlo was one of the first to lay-out the inspiration for Kanban systems for software development.