Final Portfolio Prioritization

30 ap-final-portfolio-prioritization

The final step of the Agile Portfolio is a prioritization of all Epics that have exited the Portfolio Kanban process. This facilitates a handoff of prioritized list of Epics for each Program under this Agile Portfolio.

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Related Mindset:

Lean-Agile

Value-Driven

Segment:

Agile Portfolio

Inputs:

Completed Epics that have completed the Portfolio Kanban process

Outputs:

Prioritized list of Epics for the Program segment

The Agile Portfolio is designed to provide the portfolio team with the necessary information to determine high-level business value, scope, and size of Epics through the Portfolio Kanban process.

The team will then use all of this information to determine a priority order for all Epics that will be passed down to one of the Program segments under the portfolio.

The prioritization process is a multi-faceted approach which looks at all of the variables related to an Epic to determine its position in the final prioritization. One of the prioritization methodologies that works at every level is Weighted Shortest Job First (WSJF)1. This approach includes value and size in determining a weight for an Epic.

This multi-faceted prioritization process ensures that the Program is being tasked with the most critical Epics that allow for achieving the most business value within a timeframe.

For more information about prioritization utilizing WSJF within the Scaled Agile Framework®, review the following abstract:

Common Pitfalls

Organizations can fall prey to several common pitfalls within the Final Portfolio Prioritization:

  • Arbitrary prioritization - As with all decisions, we believe data should be the most significant portion of the prioritization decision. While there are some assumptions made in determining the cost of delay and duration for an Epic, the WSJF value for an Epic should be the main consideration for prioritization. In many organizations, the personal preference of a stakeholder is the determining factor. In other organizations, internal politics plays a key role in the prioritization effort. Either of these situations will lead to a Program not being tasked with the most critical Epics that allow for achieving the most business value within a timeframe.
  • Incomplete Epics - The Portfolio Kanban process exists to provide all information needed for an Epic to be prioritized. If key pieces of research and validation are not provided, the prioritization will be based more on assumptions than analysis. Organizations should define clearly what their standard is for an Epic to be prioritized and then make sure that information is provided for every Epic before including it in the prioritization process.

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