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 intended outcomes and team capacity.

Lean Portfolio Management prioritizes alignment and achievement of  business outcomes over focusing on work and deliverables.  It is a results-based approach incorporating adaptive planning in quarterly or less increments, high visibility and alignment and inspection and validation of real results.

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Problems We Are Solving

  • Lack of alignment of the ‘work’ to the enterprise and portfolio ‘strategy’ and value expected
  • Lack of clarity or alignment to business outcomes, focus is on deliverables and ‘output’
  • High WIP (work in progress) and multi-tasking across projects
  • Upfront funnel allows too many ‘un-qualified’ ideas to get approved
  • No visibility into capacity or teams. Individuals matrixed across too many priorities
  • Big planning upfront for the entire year with no adaptive planning shorter cycles

Desired Outcomes

  • Ideas are qualified and opportunities are evaluated using light weight lean startup and discovery methods
  • Portfolio is aligned with Strategic Intent and defines Strategic Themes to guide the outcomes for the year
  • Portfolio WIP  is limited and aligned with capacity
  • Portfolio leaders engage teams in quarterly planning and swarm around outcomes they can achieve within the quarter
  • Funding shifts away from project based model to investing in outcomes and budgeting based on program or value stream capacity


This pillar focuses on the below competencies. The Learn More links take customers and certified EBA Strategists to resources inside our measurement and growth platform, AgilityHealth. Use your AgilityHealth login to access.

Strategic Intent & Outcome Alignment

Strategic Intent helps us define and gain clarity on the overall ambitions and north star of our organization. Themes enable focus on the highest value outcomes for the year. Learn More

Quarterly Capacity & Demand Management

Business Outcome Alignment  involves breaking down our Strategic Intent and Themes into smaller increments of Outcome Increments that can be achieved within a quarter or less. Learn More

Funding & Governance

Quarterly Capacity & Demand planning is about balancing demand (outcomes and Epics) with available team capacity, planning in quarterly increments (or less), creating a ‘pull’ system and making this process highly visible and collaborative. Learn More

Related Radar Assessments

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Agile Release Train Health Radar &  Portfolio Health Radar

The AgilityHealth Scaled Agile Framework® assessment radars provide a powerful way to assess the health of your release trains and portfolios by digging deeper into the key dimensions for success and visualizing the results.
Learn More About Radars

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Enterprise Business Agility Radar

The EBA Radar provides a holistic assessment for a portfolio or line of business around the 7 pillars needed to success. One of these pillars being Lean Portfolio Management.

Learn More About Radar

Learn More About AgilityHealth

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Enterprise Visibility Room (EVR)


  • 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


Re-Thinking Portfolio and Capacity Planning

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Case Study – Enterprise Visibility Room

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Developing Measurable Business Outcomes

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Agile Finance and Governance: How organizations use these approaches to change the way they work

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Breaking a Portfolio Down Into Smaller Items

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Agile Program Governance: Standard Metrics

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Enterprise Agile Stable Teams and Budgeting with Susan Courtney

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A Cohesive, Flexible Approach to Lean Portfolio Management – South Africa BAI Conference

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