Lean Portfolio Management

Lean Portfolio Management

“Stop starting and start finishing”


Lean Portfolio Management is applying lean thinking to managing enterprise, program and product portfolios to provide a fast and flexible flow of high-value work. This approach focuses on delivering the most valuable work first while limiting work-in-process, limiting interruptions and aligning the work to the organization’s capacity. Lean Portfolio Management prioritizes the business features being worked based on business value and manages the work in a visible portfolio. It is a results-based approach incorporating regular inspection and validation of results.

This pillar includes the following competencies: Epic Breakdown, Opportunity Assessment, Demand/Capacity Management and Finance and Governance.


Lean Portfolio Video

Problems We Are Solving

  • The backlog is not visible at the enterprise level
  • Portfolio prioritization is not consistent or effective
  • Capacity is not well understood
  • Initiatives are started without a clear definition of the expected result
  • Multi-tasking leads to many projects getting started but not finished

Desired Outcomes

  • Ideas are qualified, justified, initiated and prioritized, measured by delivery of business value
  • Work in process is limited to effective throughput, measured by predictable velocity and delivery
  • Stable teams pull from the prioritized backlog (rather than teams being formed to complete projects), measured by early payback, higher business value and increased throughput


Portfolio Breakdown & Alignment

Portfolio Breakdown & Alignment is the process of gathering all current and proposed ideas and initiatives, aligning the ideas to the strategic vision, removing or stopping any ideas that do not align, and breaking down large initiatives into smaller deliverables/themes or Minimal Marketable Products (MMPs).

Opportunity Assessment

Opportunity Assessment involves qualifying all new or in process ideas, justifying ideas based on business value and completing a feasibility assessment on each remaining idea to ensure that the portfolio roadmap only includes initiatives that meet a clear set of standards for strategic value.

Demand/Capacity Management

Demand/Capacity Management matches the prioritized ideas to the capacity of the teams to deliver so that the roadmap is realistic and priority-driven. It includes the process of allocating Run, Grow and Transform work to reflect the desired investment spend in each category.

Finance and Governance

Lean Portfolio Management shifts finance and governance from a top-down process where budgets are set annually, resources are assigned to projects and success is defined by meeting fixed goals to a flexible, dynamic approach where planning is ongoing, resources are made available as needed for the highest priorities and governance is aligned to Lean values and principles.

Related Services


‘Designed by Foster’


  • Lack of visibility
  • Little understanding of demand vs. capacity
  • Lack of clarity, alignment & definition of the Enterprise priority, outcomes, roadmaps & MVPs
  • Lack of Portfolio success metrics (available data does not support the goals)

Change Management Solutions

  • Enterprise prioritization & incentives
  • Enterprise Clarity Center, Portfolio Kanban & enterprise metrics
  • Define & understand the current state
  • Define the vision for the future state
  • Align finance & budgeting to enterprise transformation

Enabling Measurable Transformations!