Strategic Theme Validation

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Epics must be validated against the enterprise’s Strategic Themes to move from Funnel to Review. This evaluation ensures that the flow of work from the portfolio segment is aligned with the areas of value focus for the organization.

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Related Mindset:



Agile Portfolio


Strategic Themes, Epic in the Funnel of the Portfolio Kanban.


Investments that are in alignment with the company’s Strategic Themes.

Any Epic that does not align with the enterprise’s Strategic Themes will not drive the enterprise’s visions, and therefore should not justify an investment.

The Scaled Agile Framework® defines a Strategic Theme as:

Strategic Themes are itemized, differentiated business objectives that connect a portfolio to the enterprise’s business strategy. They provide business context for decision-making within the portfolio, and they serve as inputs to the budget, portfolio, solution, and program backlog.1

Entry criteria for the Review stage of the Portfolio Kanban should include validation against one or more Strategic Themes. While Strategic Themes will change as the company’s strategy evolves, a “big idea” may drive a change of Strategic Themes. But unless and until that occurs, Epics that cannot be validated against a Strategic Theme should be removed or left in the Funnel.

Strategic Theme Validation should be considered as the Epic moves through each stage of the Portfolio Kanban. Consider Strategic Themes when:

  • Prioritizing Epics in both the Funnel and Backlog stages.
  • Defining the success criteria in the Review stage.
  • Writing the lightweight business case in the Analysis stage.
  • Determining how to split and implement in the Backlog and Implementation stages.

For more information around Strategic Themes, review this abstract from the Scaled Agile Framework®:


  • Scaled Agile Inc., SAFe® 4.0 Glossary, Licensed Usage.