Epic Portfolio Planning
The Epic Portfolio Planning capability’s enablers include Intake and Lean Business Case Development, Epic Financial Planning, and Portfolio Backlog Management. Each capability within the Planview Capability Framework has a distinct set of features and functionality, business processes, best practices, and analytics and reports that deliver value to customers in the form of specific business outcomes.
Enablers and Business Outcomes
Intake and Lean Business Case Development
Supports the creation, initial planning, and Lean business case development of epics that will deliver and operate our products, services, and systems and their corresponding business outcomes. Resulting business outcomes include:
- We can initiate new epics to deliver solutions defined in the value streams and achieve portfolio outcomes.
- We can collect the relevant descriptive and categorization information required to develop each epic’s Lean business case.
Epic Financial Planning
Supports supports planning and management for all financial information associated with an epic, including high-level estimates, approved or baseline budgets, actual costs to date, forecasts to complete costs, and variance reporting. Resulting business outcomes include:
- We can capture the epic’s high-level costs.
- We can estimate the size, benefits, and desired results associated with each epic to support the Lean business case.
- We can track agile teams’ completed work, and use that data to automatically create timesheet entries for financial planning, including categorizing the work into capitalization (CAPEX) or operational expenses (OPEX).
Portfolio Backlog Management
Supports portfolio backlog management, visualizing all work on a portfolio Kanban board aligned to a preferred work methodology and process. Resulting business outcomes include:
- We can visualize all approved epics on a portfolio Kanban board.
- We can customize Kanban boards to reflect existing portfolio processes.
- We can sequence epics by size, value, and team capacity/velocity considerations.
- We can create aligned autonomy by associating work on team and program boards to the portfolio Kanban board.
Rely on roadmaps
Use roadmapping to connect strategy, investments, projects, and resources to ensure your organization is on track with its key deliverables. This allows you to coordinate across schedules, milestones, releases, and financials of each outcome with key information about associated programs and epics while managing work dependencies.
Use an OKR framework
Using an objectives and key results (OKRs) framework can help you stay focused on the outcomes and benefits of an epic. At every level of an organization, objectives name what teams want to accomplish and key results name how teams will measure success. The relevance for PMOs is an outcome-based approach and ability to accurately measure value.
By budgeting according to short-term programs and outcomes, you can maximize flexibility and autonomy within your value streams. Shorter funding cycles also mean you can receive and apply feedback from teams and stakeholders swiftly so you can change course to deliver on what’s most important.
Give teams just enough governance
Empower teams to make choices about how they will deliver work in alignment with epics and encourage autonomy and collaboration. This adaptive governance model pays off with greater efficiency and enables PMOs to focus on getting their teams what they need and give guidance on key decisions
Shift to continuous or quarterly planning
Adapt to ongoing change by adopting a continuous planning model. Working according to short-term programs and epics enables an organization to gather, review, and incorporate customer feedback quickly while delivering value.
Centralize your data
Demonstrating your epic’s value and expected benefits to key stakeholders requires having the right high-level view of information and figuring out how you will measure progress. It’s crucial to have your supporting data in one place to derive the analytics, make informed decisions, and find any unforeseen risks with the ability to adapt.
Visualize your work dependencies
Use parent and child card features to visualize work dependencies across a team’s board and across the epic. This allows you to effectively view how everyone’s work connects with each other and fits into the larger project plan.
Involve your team in planning
Take a bottom-up approach to project planning, meaning your team members can help decide on tasks and assignments, estimate deadlines, and aid in other aspects of the team plan. This helps engage your team and get their buy-in from the beginning on how their work will be carried out.
Processes and Reports
Epic portfolio planning allows you to manage your portfolio of existing and backlogged agile epics, from intake and creation to planning, development, and financial management.
Intake and Lean Business Case Process Steps
Epics are created at the PPL level of the work structure. There are two main types of epics: business epics and enabler epics.
|Describe and categorize epic||
Populate configuration-specific description and categorization attributes into the new epic as determined by the data and information needs of the organization.
|Capture prioritization information||Capture prioritization information either within fields or directly on the financial plan.
Weighted Shortest Job First (WSJF) is an example of a prioritization model to sequence both epics and features. Using WSJF, work items that can deliver the most value and take the shortest length of time are chosen first.
|Capture additional business case information||Capture financial information on the epic or directly on the financial plan. Other types of governance information may include sizing, priority, or other aspects of a lean business case.|
Epic Financial Planning Process Steps
|Estimate size/ART capacity to deliver epic||Coordinate with other teams if there are any dependencies, redundancies, or obstacles that could affect the completion of the features for all teams.|
|Manage epic costs||
Capture capacity targets in terms of units at the Agile Release Train (ART) level. Enter capacity targets in the Units-Points account or a similar account, adding lines as needed. Then add velocity or capacity units in terms of points for each row.
|Manage epic revenue/KPIs||
Enter benefits and revenue targets into the Benefits or Revenue Targets accounts, adding lines as needed. Examples of benefits may be cost savings or incremental sales. This data is often entered in the currency format, by quarter.
Portfolio Backlog Management Process Steps
|Key prioritized epics||
The output from the prioritization event will be the key prioritized epics, sequenced into sprints within the PI. Publishing these may trigger steps within a lifecycle.
|Sync epics to Portfolio Board||
The sync process is often completed as part of a lifecycle. The following diagram shows the data sync at different steps in the process. The blue boxes show the sync of epics at the PPL level of Planview Enterprise One to the portfolio board in LeanKit.
Sequence epics into appropriate timeboxes (e.g., Program Increment)
|Sync key prioritized epics into LeanKit, and make any adjustments if necessary. Even if epics were sequenced as part of investment and capacity planning, they will need to be put into the correct sprint in LeanKit.|
Deliver epics through underlying features and stories
Build out the appropriate features and stories for each epic on the program and team program boards. Move epics toward completion as underlying work is accomplished.
As the organization goes through the cyclical process of delivering epics through the underlying features and stories, the leading and lagging indicators will collect data. Based on the epic's performance against projected delivery forecasts, persevere or pivot decisions will need to be made. Making these decisions each quarter instead of each year as part of annual planning increases agility at the enterprise level. This cyclical process will roll data back into the next PI Planning when investments are re-analyzed.
Agile Program Management
This capability supports team of teams program backlog management, quarterly planning, and program planning using Kanban boards. Teams can see backlogged and current work and coordinate organizational initiatives effectively and with clarity into the value delivered.Read more
Epic Prioritization & Scenario Analysis
This capability provides the ability to collect all potential and existing epics, prioritize them based on an organization’s desired outcomes, and compare the impact of trade-off decisions using various hypothetical scenarios before approving the overall portfolio plan.Read more
Team of Teams Capacity Planning
This capability provides the mechanism to set time-phased capacity budgets or targets, and sequence epics across defined timeboxes to align with team capacity. This provides a framework to analyze demand and make assessments on the ability to continue with or take on new epics.Read more
Agile Program Management
Designed with the growing agile organization in mind, Planview’s Agile Program Management solution gives your agile teams a way to visualize, plan, coordinate, and deliver your organization’s biggest initiatives in an accelerated and predictable way.Read more
Enterprise Agile Planning
Planview’s Enterprise Agile Planning solution provides a scalable enterprise-level lean portfolio management, agile program management, and agile delivery platform that enables planning and value delivery from the strategic portfolio level to the agile team.Read more