Using Portfolio Kanban for Project Portfolio Management

Whether it is IT or Business in a corporation, a consulting company, a hi-tech product company, a legal firm, a marketing/ advertising agency, an HR department or any other type of organization, it has the need to manage portfolios. Portfolios are nothing but related groups of initiatives or activities or projects that need to be monitored together for an overall picture of how that group is performing as a whole.

So, you might want to manage projects, customers, lines-of-business, territory-based campaigns, recruitment campaigns as portfolios, make decisions and take appropriate actions to ensure the overall “health” of the portfolio. While traditional (Project) Portfolio Management tools abound, Kanban has the promise of being one of the easiest, most visual portfolio management tools. Portfolio Kanban is the application of Kanban to Portfolio Management.

Kanban’s Value to Portfolio Management
Kanban has several key features that makes it most applicable for Portfolio Management:

  • Swim-Lanes to depict one or more portfolios Using a single Kanban Board, you can organize into multiple swim-lanes for tracking each Portfolio or each project/ activity within one Portfolio.
  • Visual Value Stream The fundamental purpose of Portfolio Management is to understand the status of the current set of projects or activities in a portfolio and to understand what the pipeline of incoming projects (the demand) might be – in order to make informed decisions on funding and other outcomes. The Kanban value stream is the most visual tool for modeling the “funnel” through which the projects flow.
  • WIP Limits Organizations have limited resources; so they can take on a limited set of activities – be it projects or ad campaigns or recruitment drives. Thus at each stage of the project/ activity funnel, they can only have a limited number of those projects in order to optimally manage with their resources. The Kanban WIP Limits serve as an ideal tool to model organizational constraints!
  • Rollup of Information Portfolios are collections of “initiatives” – each initiative comprising a number of lower level work items and tasks that must be done to complete each initiative. The collective status of those work-items or tasks represents the status. There may also be dependency between work items and tasks of one initiative to one or more of similar items in one or more other projects or initiatives. Irrespective of how you choose to model portfolios, projects and work items, Kanban provides you several tools – boards, horizontal and vertical lanes, cards and tasks to model these in a way that makes most sense to you – and be able to rollup information in the manner that most makes sense to your organization’s or the portfolio’s business objectives!

Kanban represents the most visual portfolio management tools yet! SwiftKanban provides you several ways to set up your portfolios. One such method is demonstrated in this informative Portfolio Kanban Board Blog. Depending on your needs, you can model in several different ways. In addition, we are bringing out additional exciting features to make your Portfolio Kanban system even more powerful!

To learn more, please take a look at the SwiftKanban features. Or, to give it a try, please signup for a 30-day free trial!

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