Continuous Improvement: Essential to Leveraging Agile Portfolio Management

Continuous improvement is a principle that people apply to their careers every day. To improve your knowledge, you read articles and books (such asthis one). To expand your network and learn about new trends, you attend conferences. To ensure that you achieve your career goals, you increase your performance and effectiveness in your daily work. If you are in the C-suite, your goal is to improve the capabilities of your organization.
Continuous improvement allows you to create exceptional end-products for everyone who benefits from your output and your efforts. It begs the question: What does continuous improvement mean for project and portfolio management? Your portfolio managers (PMs) or customers?
Software developers first introduced the concept of product delivery and project delivery when they wanted their end-products competitive and customer-focused. Agile’s sprint-like, iterative approach gave developers multiple opportunities to make adjustments and ensure that their end-product met customer needs. What does this have to do with continuous improvements? Each round allowed the team to take a break, look at the product, then make improvements to the final product.
This strategy can be applied to portfolio and project management. More specifically, AgilePortfolio Management is the process of incorporating Agile principles into portfolio decision-making. Breaking work down into iterative bursts ofactivity that focus on milestones instead of task lists gives your PMs andtheir teams multiple opportunities to examine progress and make improvements.Continuous improvement aligns your projects to your business goals–delivering real value to your organization and your customers.
Traditional portfoliomanagement and project management methods can often hinder growth and improvement. The very nature of thelinear method cements the process ahead of time to create maximum predictability.Remember, the status quo for PMs is to deliver on time, in scope and underbudget — and the pressure to deliver within those parameters is enormous. Every change in strategy can cause chaos. This makes everyone involved very resistant to straying from the established path, even if there is an opportunity for improvement.
How to help your project and portfolio managers embrace continuousimprovement
How can you practice continuous improvement? And, even more importantly, how can you get your project management office to embrace the change? Like all things in business, it starts at the top. To get your PMs to adopt an Agile, improvement-focused approach, you need to create an environment that encourages change. Your PMs must have the ability to deliver on time, within budget, and in scope, as per your organization’s expectations. Your PMs will be more motivated to meet new expectations if you embrace Agile Portfolio Management. This will allow them to deliver business value, continuous improvement, and customer satisfaction.
Your PM can be supported in their new direction (and make their job easier) by giving them actionable data. A PPM tool that tracks the time it takes for a product request to be approved can help the team identify bottlenecks. Because the PMO is focused on delivering iterative value rather than a linear project, these bottlenecks can be fixed quickly, instead of at the end of an 18-month project plan when no one remembers them. The PMO can actively monitor progress and shift their focus with continuousfeedback. They can accurately allocate resources. They can eliminate dying deliverables and fill up slots with pre-approved projects that are still in the backlog. There is no wasted effort or lost value.
Agile methodolog

Continuous Improvement: Essential to Leveraging Agile Portfolio Management
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