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 funding levels (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

Left Panel

  1. Budget Allocation: Plots the percentage of org structure funding that has been allocated to themes. A snapshot must be selected from the dropdown at the top of the page to display this section. Each theme is represented by blocks of various colors. Hover over a block to see more information on how the percentage of funding is calculated. Two perspectives are available through the buttons at the top of the section:
    • Theme: Compares the total funding set for the portfolio’s parent organization structure vs the funding designated for each theme. Org structure funding is set from the Funding Levels field inside a strategic snapshot’s Details panel. A theme’s funding is set from the Theme Planned Budget field inside its Details panel.
    • Child Items: Compares the total funding set for the portfolio’s parent organization structure vs the sum of funding designated for child epics and stand-alone features parented by themes in the portfolio. Org structure funding is set from the Funding Levels field inside a strategic snapshot’s Details panel. An epic’s funding is set from the Budget field inside the Finance tab of its Details panel.
  2. Theme Budget Variance: Presents the themes in rank order (as ranked on the Themes page), with a progress bar that shows the percentage of Accepted Spend vs the allocated funding for the theme, set from the Theme Planned Budget field inside its Details panel. Hover over a theme to review Accepted and Estimated Variance values:
    • Estimated Variance: (((Sum of funding values from child epics and stand-alone features) / (theme’s funding)) - 1) * 100
    • Accepted Variance: (((Sum of Accepted Spend from accepted child stories) / (theme’s funding)) -1) * 100

      Note: Themes will be highlighted in red when the Accepted Spend exceeds the allocated funding.

Center Panel

  1. PI Timeline: Shows start and end dates that are set in the PI, and percentage 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. Team Cost by Program Increment: Displays each PI selected in the Configuration bar (or associated with the selected strategic snapshot), with funding and cost values.
    • Program Increment Funding: The funding allocated for the PI, set from the PI Funding field. Click this value to open the PI’s Details panel.
    • Team Cost: The sum of all Team Cost per Sprint values from all sprints tied to the selected PI(s).
      • Kanban teams are included, and their Team Cost per Sprint values are collected from anchor sprints tied to the selected PI(s).
  3. Work Spend: Lists each epic associated with the portfolio and selected PI(s) (use the toggle to also display stand-alone features):
    • Budget: The value from the Budget field in the Finance tab of the epic's Details panel.
    • Forecasted Spend (by forecasts): The epic's Forecasted Spend. This value is the sum of all program PI forecasts entered on the Forecast tab of the epic’s Details panel, converted into points, and then multiplied by the primary program’s Program Spend per Point. Click the value to open the epic's Forecasted Spend panel.
    • Estimated Spend (by features): The epic's Estimated Spend. This value is the sum of all estimates entered on child features, converted into points, and then multiplied by the primary program’s Program Spend per Point. Click the value to open the epic's Estimated Spend panel.
    • Accepted Spend (by stories): The sum of all Accepted Spend values from child stories parented by the epic. Accepted Spend is the effort points of a story multiplied by the team’s Spend per Point, for the sprint in which the story was accepted.
    • Capitalized: Displays “Y” if the epic and child features (or a stand-alone feature) are marked as Capitalized in Details panels.

Right Panel

To display data in this section, ensure that a strategic snapshot is selected in the Snapshot dropdown at the top of the page.

  1. [Organization Structure Name] Snapshot Funding: The funding designated for the portfolio’s parent organization structure. This value is entered in the strategic snapshot’s Details panel, for the organization structure listed in the Funding Levels field section.
  2. Portfolios Summary: Rollup of PI funding values tied to programs within the portfolio, as a percentage of the snapshot's total funding:
    • Portfolio Funding: The sum of all program funding from PIs associated with the selected snapshot. A PI’s funding is set from the PI Funding field inside the main tab of its Details panel, while the percentage of that funding allotted to each program is set from the Programs, Products, and Regions tab.

      The circle gauge to the right displays the percentage of the snapshot funding consumed by the aggregated program PI funding.
    • Portfolio Cost: The sum of all Team Cost per Sprint values from programs associated with the selected snapshot's portfolios and PI(s). 

      The circle gauge to the right displays the percentage of the Portfolio Funding value, displayed above, consumed by the aggregated Team Cost per Sprint values.

Questions to ask in the Portfolio Room:

  1. Does the allocated funding for themes (from PI theme planning) consume the snapshot total funding?
    • If not, then theme planning should be conducted across each of the PIs in the snapshot
  2. Does the estimated funding for themes (from epic budget fields) consume the allocated funding for themes?
    • If not, then more epics under that theme should be pulled from the funnel.
  3. Are the accumulated Accepted Spend values for a theme within the estimated funding or Estimated Spend values for the theme?
    • If not, then the value proposition for the theme should be revisited (value-for-cost is changing)
  4. How are the portfolios and programs within the snapshot performing against their allocated funding?
    • If some programs are running over budget, then forecasts will need to be revisited.

Resources View

 

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 marked 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

 

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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