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Aligning Your Agile Portfolio With Organizational Strategy


Previously, we discussed the building blocks of organizational strategy: the mission statement, the vision statement, and the strategic objectives.

But having that foundation laid doesn’t automatically mean you’re going to be working on the right things at the right times to meet those objectives and fulfill that mission and vision. To tie your Agile portfolio to the organizational strategy effectively and ensure the organization is accomplishing what it needs to within an Agile framework, one more document is necessary:

The Portfolio Charter


The portfolio charter aligns your organizational strategy by defining the following aspects of the portfolio itself:

• Objectives – What specifically is this portfolio going to accomplish in line with the overall organizational strategic objectives? Ideally, these should be clear stepping stones heading toward those goals.
• Roles and responsibilities of portfolio managers – In regards to this specific portfolio, who is going to be fulfilling the three major roles (portfolio owner, program manager, and area product owner) as well as three additional roles involved in portfolio management (COO, CTO, and CIO)? What will their individual responsibilities be to the portfolio itself, to the rest of the organization, and to each other?
• Expectations and requirements of relevant stakeholders– Who outside of the six roles previously defined have a relevant stake in this portfolio and will need to be kept apprised of its progress? What do they expect to receive and what requirements do they need to fulfill?
• Communication requirements – Of the people identified above, who needs to know what, when, and in what format?
• Anything else relevant – The point of putting together this charter is to clearly identify and document any relevant facts about this portfolio that will help ensure it remains on track toward the overarching organizational strategy already established.

Mock Portfolio Charter


Continuing our example from the last post where our fictional company, TelCorp, established a mission, vision, and a set of strategic objectives, let’s now take a look at the “Objectives” section of their newly minted portfolio charter:

Medical-Management System Portfolio


This portfolio’s focus is to enhance MMS software, in alignment with these company objectives:
• Improve patient care through better monitoring and reporting of patient health
• Reduce cost of ownership through
◦ Improved monitoring and control of networked devices
◦ Making installation and configuration of devices easier
▪ Expand the list of supported devices, from TelCorp and third parties
▪ Increase revenues through market expansion and retention of current margins

Portfolio Objectives


• Add installation, configuration, control, and real-time monitoring capabilities for new TelCorp and selected third-party devices
• Includes new surgical robots
• Redesign user interface for monitoring and reporting of patient data
• Validate new PC-based monitor stations
• Upgrade device-resident Agents for more, better data and reliability
• Support monitoring, controlling device-resident Agents (V6 and up)
• Expand reporting for devices with V6 Agents
• Enhance fault-tolerance of system
• Ensure compliance with FDA requirements

As you can see, all of the individual portfolio objectives for the Medical-Management System portfolio, although smaller in scope than the broader strategic objectives or vision statement, are clearly aligned strategically with this document. These objectives fit well with the others, ensuring that when the organization invests resources in building out this portfolio, they will be making progress toward meeting strategic objectives they have already identified as beneficial for the organization.

The remaining sections of the charter can be completed based on reviewing these objectives and determining who the stakeholders are, who will be fulfilling the main and supplementary roles described, and how each of those individuals will fit into the portfolio’s management and reporting structure.

For more information regarding creating and fulfilling an effective portfolio charter, let cPrime help you with your Agile portfolio management questions.
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