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Lean-Agile Portfolio Management for a Modern Strategic Planning

Content Page. The main purpose of this CODA Doc is to create visibility and document the whole process of Modern Strategic Planning. Find here a Happy Path - A simple RoadMap to go down to Business immediately, or take the Learning Path towards Lean-Agile.

Read Me First

The purpose of this CODA Doc is to create visibility of the whole process and document all steps and all learnings of a Modern Strategic Planning Process. This is the place to start. Here, in this page, you will find key information regarding the use of this CODA Doc. This CODA Doc works with at least a CODA Pro account. However, once copied into a free workspace, you have 14 days to get acquainted with it and decided if it is worth the upgrade.

On one hand, you might be overwhelmed by the sheer size of this CODA Doc. So many pages and so much information! Or you may be familiar with the whole process of Modern Strategic Planning, and you may want to start using the tool right away. In any of those cases, please follow our Happy Path delineated below. A simple RoadMap to start using the CODA Doc and go down to business immediately.

On the other hand, you may be the type of person that likes to read manuals and get thoroughly acquainted with the tools before using them, or you may be unfamiliar with the whole process of Modern Strategic Planning. In any of those cases, please take advantage of this CODA Doc. Here you have all the required information at your fingertips, with the simple click of a button. This CODA Doc is also thought as a learning tool for you to master the process of Modern Strategic Planning. So jump right into the Learning Path and read on!

Happy Path - A Quick Roadmap

Learning Path - Lean-Agile Strategies

are becoming mainstream in . There is an important drive to scale up small scrum teams throughout the whole organization. However, it is not an easy task. Companies still have teams working agile mostly in an isolated format to achieve results.

Portfolio Level

We believe that the best place to start an Agile transformation is from the top, at the Level, where strategic planning is executed. To be an Agile Corporation, you need to have an Agile Strategy in place. This means that you have to quickly evaluate innovation in products and services, assign budgets and follow through, understanding that persevere and pivot on any innovation are two sides of the same coin. That coin is the rich learnings that you develop while doing the work.

Lean-Agile Strategic Planning Outline

We use a CODA Doc to take the whole Corporation through an Agile Strategic Planning Process. Our focus is the Development Value Streams in which we create innovations for the whole enterprise. In simple terms we go as follows:
Here we develop a shared understanding of the business environment, the place we are as an enterprise, and the placed we would like to go in the future.
Here we establish Corporate Level Strategic Themes, in the form of OKR's (Objectives and Key Results). Then we continue to create initiatives in the form of Epics and Enablers, that will help us achieve those OKR's.
Here we receive all those initiatives in the form of Epics and Enablers, and pass them through the KanBan Board, in order to gain more knowledge about each initiative. The outcome here may be initiatives dismissed at any stage, pivot or change the course of the initiative, or persevere and develop a successful innovation of our products and services.
Here, as the innovation of products and services is incorporated into the day to day activities of the enterprise, the Strategic Planning Team hands over the innovation into the hands of the Operational Value Stream responsible for it.

SAFe 5.1

The theoretical base developed by Scaled Agile Framework () is used as a starting point for our CODA Doc. All the theoretical aspects of Lean-Agile Portfolio Management may be found


Strategic Planning used to be an exercise that Corporations did every five years. That is no longer the case. Strategic Planning have nowadays monthly and quarterly cadences, in a few cases, such as budgeting, it may go as long as every half a year.
We have developed a CODA Doc that will allow us to follow through the modern process of strategic planning in order to assure the capture of innovations and learnings fully, and document in detail the pivot and persevere aspects of our learning curve.
Our CODA Doc may be used as a collaborative work tool for all Strategic Planning Stakeholders. In here, they will be able to manage portfolio level processes, from ideation to follow up. The main objective is to create visibility of the whole process and document all steps and all learnings.
Our CODA Doc scope is limited to the processes and documentation required by the Strategic Planning Team. It includes eight types of pages:
Administration Page. These will have all the backend tables and formulations required by the CODA Doc to function seamlessly. These will also include Tips for the Scrum Masters of the Modern Strategic Planning Team.
Content Page. These have all theoretical information about Agile Frameworks, OKR processes, Portfolio processes, and any other piece of information that may be useful to the Modern Agile Strategic Planning Team.
Event Page. These have all the tools and templates necessary to conclude a Team effort in a specific time box window. Events may be online, with people working remotely, or in a conference room, with people working in their laptops, or a mix of both. Event Pages will have features for brainstorming sessions and a template for documenting the end product.
Information Radiator Page. These have all the visual tools necessary to know exactly where we stand in the process. We will be able to know through a KanBan or any other convenient tool, how is our progress along the modern strategic planning process.
Header Page. All those pages which only purpose is to give structure to the document and group other pages together by themes.
Presentation Page. These will have a detailed view of all documentation generated in the modern strategic planning process. It is mainly used for documenting Outputs.
Task Page. These have all the tools and templates necessary to conclude an individual effort. Task Pages will have features and templates for documenting the end product of the Task.
Template Page. These are mainly a part of the Content Pages in the form of templates that may be used stand alone for specific purposes.

Pains & Gains

Traditional strategic planning is very much ad hoc in nature. We study the business environment and our weaknesses and strengths, and our threats and opportunities through a SWOT analysis. Then we make a gap analysis between where we are and where we want to be. From here we used to generate a list of initiatives that should close that gap. And that was the end of planning. Projects were defined and execution took over. And those projects may be successful or may be disastrous, and then we start the process again.

Lean-Agile Strategic Planning

That way of doing strategic planning does not work anymore. The reason is that Lean-Agile Strategic Planning is based on innovation and learning. We think we know what we want to do. We think we know what innovation means. But most of the time we are learning by trial and error. And we need to recognize that and apply an adequate process to do that.

Target Audience

This CODA Doc will be used by people in charge of Strategic Planning and Innovation. This is a list of this CODA Doc Stakeholders:
Business Owners
Enterprise Executives
APMO (Agile Project Management Office)
Portfolio Stakeholders
OKR Owners
Epic Owners
Enterprise Architects
Product Managers
Scrum Masters of Scrum Masters
Business Analysts
Lean Portfolio Management Committee
among others...

Our Modern Strategic Planning

We divide Modern Strategic Planning into four main groups as follows. Each one will have its own cadence and work. This CODA Doc will be the tool to document all the work, execute the planning and follow up on the results.

However, there is a group zero Task Page, for all planning activities prior to starting the process. Go there to customize your Organization's journey, if desired.

This group should be executed every year. This is the where we decide the vision, where we want to be in the future. If we already know, we just have to question that and make sure it shouldn't change. If it changes, it only means that we have learnt something that we didn't know previously, since last we did the exercise. Here you will find several tools to accomplish this, in the following order:
Business environment
Previous Strategic Planning
. It is about understanding our business environment using an evolved Michael Porter's five forces model.
. It is about developing a shared understanding of the current business model canvas
. It is an evolved SWOT analysis that focuses on the future by evaluating Strengths; Opportunities; Aspirations; and Results
. It is an evaluation that challenges current Industry paradigms and open our minds to new ideas
. With all that information much clearer, we are in a position to decide where indeed we want to be in the future. Establish a vision for our innovation portfolio
. The purpose of any innovative vision is to intervene current Operational Value Streams. So we take our time to clarify and share an understanding of those OVS.
. Here we establish the number and characteristics of the development Value Stream that the organization requires to fulfil the Portfolio Vision
. The main output of the evaluate the Business Model Design Space is the Portfolio Canvas. This tool will allow us to successfully determine Strategic Themes / OKR's

These have several levels of cadence. Strategic Themes and OKR's are one and the same. OKR's have proven an excellent way to establish innovation in organizations without the human apprehension towards failure. Usually objectives should last one year or more, and key results just one or two quarters. In any case, OKR's should be evaluated every quarter.
. These are initiatives that generate innovation through new products and services for the organization. For each OKR there should be a set of Epics and Enablers that are feed into the Portfolio Kanban Funnel

Portfolio KanBan contains the whole process of Epic and Enabler transformation, from a mere idea, into a full fledge innovation that will be handed over to an Operational Value Stream. Here you will find the heart of this CODA Doc, including not only the Portfolio KanBan, but all the required Events and Documentation Tools.
Epics and Enablers are thoroughly analyzed as they progress through the Portfolio KanBan. Epics and Enabler analysis include things such as:
. Prioritizing and follow-up in an KanBan Board
. Risk evaluation and follow-up
. Lean Business Case
. Go / No Go Decision making
. Minimum Viable Product development. Pivot & Persevere decisions. Implement Innovation.
. Portfolio KanBan with Epics and Enablers in any stage of the process:
Lean Business Case
Risk Evaluation and Follow Up
Go / No Go decision
Minimum Viable Product
Pivot or persevere decision
. This is the Go-To Page for understanding where we stand in the process. View here Portfolio KanBan Board and the status of each Epic or Enabler. Find or Report OKR's progress and accomplishments. You can always write comments and make notes. Find also how is the Modern Strategic Planning Process going along, what has been done and what remains to be done.

Evolve Epics and Enablers into Operational Value Streams. Once the Strategic Job is finished, there is a transition towards an . is no longer responsible. Innovation has been accomplished.

Here we put at the click of a button, all necessary information and knowledge to understand a Modern Strategic Planning process, under the Scaled Agile Framework, in terms of Roles; Events; Artifacts; and general knowledge that is key for a successful Strategic Planning Process.
. Portfolio SAFe aligns strategy with execution and organizes solution development around the flow of value through one or more value streams.
. Business Agility is the ability to compete and thrive in the digital age by quickly responding to market changes and emerging opportunities with innovative, digitally-enabled business solutions.
. Measure and Grow is the way portfolios evaluate their progress towards business agility and determine their next improvement steps.
. The Lean Portfolio Management competency aligns strategy and execution by applying Lean and systems thinking approaches to strategy and investment funding, Agile portfolio operations, and governance.
. The Continuous Learning Culture competency describes a set of values and practices that encourage individuals and enterprises to continually increase knowledge, competence, performance, and innovation.
. The Organizational Agility competency describes how Lean-thinking people optimize their business processes, evolve strategy with clear and decisive new commitments, and quickly adapt the organization as needed to capitalize on new opportunities.
. The Lean-Agile Leadership competency describes how Lean-Agile Leaders drive and sustain organizational change and operational excellence by empowering individuals and teams to reach their highest potential.
. Development value streams (DVS) are the sequence of activities needed to convert a business hypothesis into a digitally-enabled Solution.
. Operational value streams (OVS) are the sequence of activities needed to deliver a product or service to a customer.
. Lean Budgets is a Lean-Agile approach to financial governance which increases throughput and productivity by reducing the overhead and costs associated with project cost accounting.
. Lean Budget Guardrails describe the policies and practices for budgeting, spending, and governance for a specific portfolio.
. Participatory Budgeting (PB) is the process that Lean Portfolio Management (LPM) uses to allocate the total portfolio budget to its value streams.
. The Portfolio Kanban system is a method to visualize and manage the flow of portfolio Epics, from ideation through analysis, implementation, and completion.
. The Portfolio Backlog is the highest-level backlog in SAFe.
. The Portfolio Vision is a description of the future state of a portfolio’s Value Streams and Solutions and describes how they will cooperate to achieve the portfolio’s objectives and the broader aim of the Enterprise.
. Epic Owners are responsible for coordinating portfolio Epics through the Portfolio Kanban system.
. An Epic is a container for a significant Solution development initiative that captures the more substantial investments that occur within a portfolio.
. An Enabler supports the activities needed to extend the Architectural Runway to provide future business functionality.
. The Roadmap is a schedule of events and Milestones that communicate planned Solution deliverables over a planning horizon.
. Strategic Themes are differentiating business objectives that connect a portfolio to the strategy of the Enterprise.
. Business Owners are a small group of stakeholders who have the primary business and technical responsibility for governance, compliance, and return on investment (ROI) for a Solution developed by an Agile Release Train (ART).
. The Enterprise Architect establishes a technology strategy and roadmap that enables a portfolio to support current and future business capabilities.
. Nonfunctional Requirements (NFRs) define system attributes such as security, reliability, performance, maintainability, scalability, and usability.
. Value Stream Coordination defines how to manage dependencies and exploit the opportunities that exist only in the interconnections between value streams.
. Each development value stream develops one or more Solutions, which are products, services, or systems delivered to the customer, whether internal or external to the Enterprise.
. Value Stream Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are the quantifiable measures used to evaluate how a value stream is performing against its forecasted business outcomes.
. The Vision is a description of the future state of the Solution under development. It reflects customer and stakeholder needs, as well as the Feature and Capabilities proposed to meet those needs.
. Milestones are used to track progress toward a specific goal or event.
. Weighted Shortest Job First (WSJF) is a prioritization model used to sequence jobs (eg., Features, Capabilities, and Epics) to produce maximum economic benefit.
. Here you may find several of the most used SAFe 5 Templates for an Agile Strategic Planning.
. This is a template to develop an understanding of the environment in which the Business is created and operated. Much in the style of Porter's 5 Forces.
. This is a Template to develop the organization's Strategic Themes or OKR's (Objectives & Key Results) that will guide decision-making throughout the Strategic Planning Process
. This is a Template to develop Portfolio Vision and clarify goals and high level objectives.
. This Template serves the purpose of building the Business Model of the Organization's Portfolio, creating a shared understanding.
. This template serves the purpose of evaluating risks associated to the portfolio. It is used during brainstorming and for risk follow up.
. This template serves the purpose of developing a Lean Business case for Epics and Enablers.
. This template serves the purpose of developing an epic or enabler statement. It is used to structure hypothesis associated to each epic or enabler defined in the Portfolio of Products and Services.
. This is a template that will allow to include and expand more SAFe 5 knowledge that may be deemed interesting or required.

This area is directed to Strategic Planning Team Members; especially those wearing the Scrum Master or the Product Owner hat. You may also use me, Pedro Celis, as a Consultant in your Modern Strategic Planning process.
. Here you will find an overview of the CODA Doc Back office directed to the Scrum Master and/or Producto Owner in charge of the process.
. Here you will find all the Backend tables associated to Business Model Design Space.
. Here you will find all the Backend tables associated to OKR's at Portfolio Level.
. Here you will find a "how to operate this document" instruction like, directed to the Scrum Master and/or Product Owner in charge of the process.
. This is a template that may be used for reporting progress throughout the organization.

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