10X: Portfolio Room

The Portfolio Room serves as a control panel for the Portfolio Leadership team as it performs its primary functions:

  1. Refining the business strategy and allocating budget to the strategic/investment themes
  2. Defining and funding the decentralized SAFe Value Streams (optional)
  3. Identifying, prioritizing, authorizing, and funding epics (with support from Value Streams)
  4. Adjusting the funding (staffing levels) of Programs (Agile Release Trains) to match the expected demand represented in the prioritized epic backlogs (e.g. a three PI lookahead)
  5. Providing fiduciary governance of execution across the portfolio's Value Streams

The Portfolio Room is an information radiator that helps the Portfolio Leadership team track their decision-making from several perspectives:

  • Financials - Is the emerging spend aligned with the target budgets that were set?
  • Resources - Is the emerging scope (down the tree) in line with the higher-level estimates (SWAGs) of effort/size?
  • Execution - Is progress tracking against expectations?

Each of the three reports is organized into three panels:

  • Left panel - Theme summary
  • Center panel - Epic summary
  • Right panel - PI and Program summary

This allows the Portfolio Leadership team to monitor the flow of budget from themes to epics into programs (and PIs). The Portfolio Room helps the Portfolio Leadership team monitor their own executions as a decision-making body, and monitor the execution of the decentralized value streams and agile release trains, as they execute the strategy with the given budgets. 

It is most useful as a bridge between the annual financial planning cycles of the business, and the PI (e.g., quarterly) cycles of the development pipeline.

Navigation

  1. Select a specific portfolio from the Configuration bar at the top of your page.
  2. Select one or more PIs from the Configuration bar at the top of your page.
  3. Select  Portfolio > Portfolio Room from the left-side navigation menu; the Portfolio Room page displays.
  4. Optionally, select a strategic snapshot from the Extra Configs menu at the top-right of the page. To see a snapshot in the list, you must be a team member of a program associated with the snapshot's PI, selected in the Configuration bar.

Prerequisites

  1. A strategic snapshot has been established for the portfolio.
  2. The snapshot references one or more PIs within the portfolio.
  3. A budget has been set for the snapshot.
  4. Strategic themes have been established and allocated to PIs within the portfolio.
  5. PIs have been given budgets.
  6. PI budgets have been allocated across their selected programs.
  7. PIs have set a blended rate (to drive conversion of completed story points to $).
  8. PI budgets in each program have been allocated to strategic themes via the Theme Planning View page. 
  9. Epics have been created, each one has been:
    • linked to a Strategic Theme (on the Details tab)
    • given a Strategic Value Score (1-100) (on the Details tab)
    • given an Effort SWAG (1-100) (on the Details tab)
    • allocated a Budget (on the Finance tab)
    • targeted to one or more Program Increments (on the Details tab)
  10. Epics have been decomposed into features and stories, and stories have been estimated and allocated to sprints (Estimate and Actual columns display).

Financials View

10X_Beta__Portfolio_Room__115000095234__1.png

Left Panel

  1. Theme Effort vs. Value
    • [when set to "Swag"] - Plots the aggregated Strategic Value Score for epics tied to a Theme (as Value), and the aggregated Effort SWAG for epics tied to a Theme (as Cost)
    • [when set to "Points"] - Plots the aggregated LOV for stories tied to a Theme (as Value), and the aggregated LOE for stories tied to a Theme (as Cost)
  2. Theme Budget Allocation - Plots the % of the PI budgets that have been allocated to a Theme via the Theme Planning page.
  3. Theme Priority - Presents the Themes in rank order (as ranked via the Theme page), with a progress bar that shows % of "actual" spend completed (accepted story points converted to dollars) over the allocated budget for the theme. Note: Themes will be highlighted in red when the actual spend exceeds the allocated budget.

Center Panel

  1. PI Timeline - Shows start and end dates that are set in the PI, and % complete based on accepted story points.
  2. Program Increment Epic Backlogs - for each Epic (toggle to show Standalone Features also):
    • Budget - The value from the Budget field in the Epic (on the Finance tab)
    • Estimate - Estimate is calculated based on member weeks set for the item multiplied by the estimated cost per week
    • Actual - The sum of the story points in all accepted stories derived from the epic, converted to dollars
    • BVE (Budget vs. Estimate) - shows % over budget (red) or under budget (green), based on the estimates
    • BVA (Budget vs. Actual) - shows % over budget (red) or under budget (green), based on the actuals

Right Panel

  1. Total Budget - Budget shown is the value set in the Total Budget field in the Strategic Snapshot. Circle graph shows Actuals spent so far (calculated from points on accepted stories) as a percentage of the Snapshot Budget.
  2. Portfolios Summary - Rollup of PI budgets tied to a program within a portfolio, as a % of the snapshot's Total Budget.
  3. Program Summary - Sum of the budgets in each Program, shown in terms of the story-level estimates and actuals, converted to dollars using team velocity and blended rate.

Questions to ask in the Portfolio Room:

  1. Do the themes that have a high value-for-cost ratio (in the bubble chart) seem to be prioritized appropriately? 
    • Higher cost, lower value themes should be moved lower in the rank order to maximize the throughput of value
  2. Do the allocated budgets for themes (from PI theme planning) consume the snapshot total budget?
    • If not, then theme planning should be conducted across each of the PIs in the snapshot
  3. Do the estimated budgets for themes (from epic budgets) consume the allocated budgets for themes?
    • If not, then more epics under that theme should be pulled from the funnel
  4. Are the accumulated actuals spent against a theme (from accepted story points) within the estimated budgets for the theme?
    • If not, then the value proposition for the theme should be revisited (value-for-cost is changing)
  5. How are the portfolios and programs within the snapshot performing against their allocated budgets?
    • If some programs are running over budget, then forecasts will need to be revisited.

Resources View

Note: Some panels and labels have recently been updated in version 10.88. See Release Notes for more details. 

Left Panel

  1. Estimated Effort Distribution - A bar chart that displays the distribution of theme effort. Each theme is represented as a bar, with a percentage displayed at the top. The percentage is calculated as:

    ((Sum of PI estimates from child epics and stand-alone features parented by the theme and planned for the selected PIs) / (Sum of PI estimates from all epics and stand-alone features associated with the portfolio and planned for the selected PIs)) * 100
  2. Theme PI Progress - Displays the list of themes in the portfolio and PI(s). Each theme displays a percentage that indicates progress, which is calculated as:

    ((Sum of effort points from accepted child stories parented by the theme and planned for the selected PIs) / (Sum of effort points from all child stories parented by the theme and planned for the selected PIs)) * 100 

Center Panel

  1. PI Timeline - Shows start and end dates that are set in the PI, and % complete based on accepted story points. Click and drag to move the roadmap, and use your mouse scroll wheel to zoom in or out.  
  2. Program Increment Epic Backlogs (Filter by Theme) - for each epic (toggle to show stand-alone features also):
    • Progress - Displays the progress of allocating the epic’s total PI estimate across associated program forecasts. The progress bar % is calculated as:

      ((Sum of program estimates entered on the Forecast tab of the epic’s Details panel for the selected PIs) / (Sum of PI estimates entered on the main tab of the epic’s Details panel)) * 100
    • Story Points -  Sum of effort points from child stories parented by the epic and planned for the selected PIs
    • Total PI Estimate - Sum of PI estimates for PIs selected in the Configuration bar. PI estimates are entered on the main tab of an epic’s Details panel
    • Capitalized - Displays Yes if the epic has been designated as capitalized from its Details panel
    • Use the Epic Drill Down ">" button to display the program level estimates entered for the epic from the Forecast tab of its Details panel
      • Forecasted Program Effort % -Displays a percentage of forecasted effort for each program versus the total forecasted estimate for the epic. Calculated as:

        ((Sum of program’s estimates entered on the Forecast tab of the epic’s Details panel for the selected PIs)  / (Sum of all program estimates entered on the Forecast tab of the epic’s Details panel for the selected PIs)) * 100
      • Forecasted Program Effort - Displays the sum of program estimates entered on the Forecast tab of the epic’s Details panel for the selected PI(s) for each program
    • Use the toggle to the left of each epic row to perform "what-if" planning and swap the epic in and out of the rollups found in other panels

Right Panel

  1. List of programs with theme breakdowns
    • Total Velocity - Displays the sum of Program PI Velocities for the listed program, for the PI(s) selected in the Configuration bar. Program PI Velocity is the average number of story points that a program has delivered during the last two PIs
    • Total Program PI Load - Displays the percentage of load for the listed program and the PI(s) selected in the Configuration bar. The value is calculated as:

      ((Sum of story points planned for the program and specified PIs) / (Total Velocity)) * 100 
    • Themes with load %Displays each theme associated with the program, if present. The % load value is calculated as:

      ((Sum of effort points from child stories parented by the theme and planned for the selected PIs) / (Sum of effort points from all stories associated with the program and planned for the selected PIs)) * 100
  2. List of program increments -  
    • Velocity - Displays the sum of Program PI Velocities from programs associated with the PI. Program PI Velocity is the average number of effort points from accepted stories delivered during the past two completed PIs
    • Load - Calculated as:

      ((Sum of effort points from stories associated with the portfolio and planned for the PI) / (Average number of effort points from accepted stories delivered by the portfolio during the past two completed PIs)) * 100

      Clicking the View Programs link will bring up a list of programs that contributed to the PI, with a percentage bar displaying the number of story points accepted vs planned.

Questions to ask in the Portfolio Room:

  1. As epics are broken down into features and stories, do the refined budgets for themes (from feature and story estimates) remain within the original budgets (from epic SWAG estimates)?
    • If so, then inspect and adapt the epic-level SWAG estimation process
  2. Which themes consume the most capacity overall across the PIs in the snapshot?
    • Can the value proposition in these themes be refined to "maximize the work not done"?
  3. Which themes consume the most capacity in each program (train) across the PIs in the snapshot?
    • Are the themes driven by the portfolio aligned with the program (trains) product vision?

Execution View

Note: Some panels and labels have recently been updated in version 10.88. See Release Notes for more details. 

Left Panel

  1. Theme PI Progress - Click on one of the themes below to display a burnup chart of story points accepted over time. This chart only includes stories assigned to a selected theme and PI. Misaligned stories are not included. The burnup shows theme progress in scope of the PI that is selected in the Configuration bar. 

Center Panel

  1. Program Increment Roadmap - Shows start and end dates that are set in the PI, and % complete based on accepted story effort points. Click and drag to move the roadmap, and use your mouse scroll wheel to zoom in or out. 
  2. Program Increment Epic Backlogs - for each epic: 
    • Progress - Displays, in a percentage, the number of effort points from accepted stories vs the total number of effort points planned. Hover over the progress bar to see details on the number of effort points and work items accepted.
    • Story Points - Sum of effort points from child stories parented by to the epic and planned for the selected PI(s)
    • Estimated PI Effort - Sum of the PI estimates from the epic for the specified PIs 
    • Capitalized - Displays Yes if the epic has been designated as capitalized from its Details panel

Right Panel

  1. Program Increment Progress - Each PI is presented, with its current status and percent complete in terms of effort points from accepted stories versus total effort points.
  2. Program PI Progress - Calculated as:

    ((Sum of effort points from accepted stories associated with the program and planned for the PI) / (Sum of effort points from all stories associated with the program and planned for the PI)) * 100

Note: For both PI Progress and Program PI Progress, orphan stories are included in point counts, while misaligned stories are not included.

Questions to ask in the Portfolio Room:

  1. Which themes are nearing completion (all defined stories accepted)?
    • If burnup is not on pace with expected velocity, then impediments must be worked.
  2. How are solutions (value streams) progressing in the current PI and specifically how is each program (train) progressing on their specific contributions to each solution (value stream)?
    • If one program (train) is lagging in execution, then the solution (value stream) team needs to work the issue. 
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