Portfolio Management

Mar 13, 2018
Aleks Yenin

Posted by Aleks Yenin

Portfolio management topic is often neglected but we’ll try to break it down for you. It’ s meant to maximize the business value in the long run. As described by the authors, Portfolio Management will give you such benefits as central oversight of your budget(who wouldn’t want to save some money, right?), risk management. Moreover, this technique optimizes the outcomes from project investment across your portfolio.

Portfolio management structure  

The following structure presents the high-level Portfolio Management workflow. To bring maximum benefit to your enterprise you need to ensure that every stage is built according to agile principles.


  • Simplicity

Try to make your Portfolio Management as simple and transparent as possible. Focus on giving clear instructions rather than increasing the amount of documentation. No-one wants to be snowed under with paper work.

  • Focus on true value

Becoming great is all about investments. Try not to focus on the cost but the value that will be delivered to your business in the long run. Moreover, you provide the platform for further development.

  • Reduce the cost of delay

One of the approaches is to invest in developing functionality to deliver the value sooner.

  • Continuous improvement

Invest in value creation. Thrive to be great at producing value for your customers.

  • Stable Teams

Favour stable teams over project ones. The agile community proved that stable teams have more advantages over short-term project teams. The work should be brought to the people, not the other way around.

  • Align to value

Align teams to value streams to enhance positive feedback from your teams. Teams are eager to be more effective when they are trusted.

  • Celebrate diversity

Diversity is the spice of life. There’s no one-size-fits-all policy so allow your team to be different and tailor their solutions to the situation they face. It’ll enable your teams to be flexible and adopt an Agile approach.

  • Trust-oriented

The most efficient way of governing is based on giving your teams complete trust. Nonetheless, there should be a transparent way of monitoring what’s happening. So-called «control without control» approach.

  • Risk driven

Refrain from traditional governance. Agile approach focuses on dealing with most common risk as making sure there’s an accordance of what teams should accomplish and that they bring sufficient value.

  • Rolling wave

Have you noticed that as the year goes by your annual plan becomes less topical? Why not make your planning a «rolling wave» process all year round. Agile approach doesn’t presuppose making plans for more than 6 months.

  • Small is good

Big plans tend to fail. Small initiatives are easier to carry out. Moreover, it brings more frequent delivery to your business value.

  • Invest in quality

It goes without saying that bringing value to your business is of utter importance so as making sure that you can do it a few years from now. To ensure this long-term sustainability make investments in quality.

  • Enterprise Aware

Agile specialists prefer to optimize the whole rather than optimizing a single activity. Portfolio management can’t be dealt on its own. It’s to be considered in the context of all relevant parts of your organization. 

The activities of Portfolio Management

Is there a real necessity for special tools to enhance the process? The obvious answer is YES.

The most popular tools are:

  1. SwarmOS
  2. BigPicture
  3. Portfolio for JIRA
  4. Structure for JIRA

The following table provides the comparison for most popular tools. 

SwarmOs BigPicture Portfolio for JIRA Structure for JIRA
1. Key features Available in 3 versions:

SwarmOs Foundation

  • Possesses its own Team Management fully integrated to Atlassian JIRA projects
  • Special set of parameters allows your projects to be configured automatically.

SwarmOS cockpit

  • Projects can be dragged and dropped to keep track of on your personal cockpit.
  • Critical and most relevant information can be highlighted.
  • Everyone’s views of most important information is fully aligned and synchronized.  

SwarmOS analyzer

  • The app analyses the results and relationships across projects in a groundbreaking new way.
  • Full visualization of all the issues you’re facing.
  • A resource centric view to identify overloaded team members.
  • Extraordinary Gantt charts that assist you in creating and organizing tasks, customizing the view so that it displayed what you need. Users can create dependencies, alter the work breakdown structure or dates manipulation
  • SAFe® – compliant Roadmaps. Thanks to it you can view and manage multiple Agile Boards at once, carefully plan your releases and even create cross-board dependencies. Roadmaps allow to get a common understanding of ongoing activities.
  • Risk matrix  helps successfully manage all these risks: planning, assigning responsibilities and then overseeing the implementation.
  • Resources functionality reviews and manages workload within a team. Each assignee’s works is displayed on the timeline that keeps you posted.
Create agile roadmaps connected to work in JIRA.

  • Receive a visual timeline of your JIRA work issues, see when your releases will ship.
  • Create different versions of your roadmap in a sandbox environment.
  • Shift changes to JIRA Software when ready.

Track projects and easily share the status.

  • Portfolio’s capacity report.
  • See all dependencies across projects and teams and stop unnecessary bottlenecks.
  • Keep track of releases progress  and JIRA work issues.

Connect your strategy to execution

  • Map epics and stories back to higher levels of hierarchy.
  • Bring visibility at every level of hierarchy.
  • Adaptable, user-defined, issue hierarchies that may contain any number nested levels. Structures may contain folders and other elements not found in JIRA.
  • You can arrange issues of any type from any number of projects in hierarchies of any depth, from personal backlogs to company-wide, big-picture, portfolio overviews.
  • Assists in visualizing and managing progress across JIRA projects and teams.
  • Progress, time and value overview.
  • Helps to automate and collaborate to improve velocity thanks to grouping, sorting filtering and other rules to build dynamic structures that update in real time as your teams solve issues.
2. Free trial  Available  Available Available Available
3. Pricing  10$ monthly flat fee for up to 10 users

1.90$ per user/month for 11-100 users.

5$ monthly flat fee for up to 10 users

2.50$ for 11-100 users

10$ monthly flat fee for up to 10 users

3.50$ per user/month for 11-100 users

starting from 10$ for 10 users
4. Reviews «B2X performed a huge transformational project . Through a new management approach the SwarmOS team introduced at B2X, we were able to deliver this complex global project in three months. This enabled us to adopt quickly to changing requirements and keep the global team equipped with real time information and empower local decision making.»Rainer Koppitz, CEO B2X

«Getting advice and the toolset from swarmOS has accelerated our journey into agile project management and made it easy for us to manage our project portfolio and increase transparency. The proven best practices and using a toolset made for business users is a key part of our agile strategy.»

Thomas Dold, the CEO of Lowell DACH

«SwarmOS made the way into agile transformation for business users easy. We allow to start collaboration faster in just a few minutes and all dashboards and analytic is delivered out of the box, innovative and intuitive for business users. »Dieter Weisshaar, CEO SwarmOS.

«A heavy but useful plugin to cover the gap between traditional pm methodology and agile. The support is very reactive, you get every week an update, fixes and improvements. Needs a lot of expertises but it is worth.» DIGIT CITnet Support

«I have been testing BigPicture for a couple of months now. It is really a great tool for schedule visualizations and resource overallocation analysis.» Bogdan Gorka, management consultant.

«As an Atlassian expert we found BigPicture to be the best plugin for traditional and agile planning, due to is prediction system (Roadmap) and Gantt view. Another reason to use this product, is the effort put into improving the product and great support.» Itamar Ben Sinai

«Portfolio does a great job of visualizing our current and upcoming work. It helps us understand where we’re going to land based on the real-time remaining estimates of our tasks and the capacities of our team. The sand-box environment enables us to play with scenarios including scope reduction, resource allocation, and priority shuffling with minimal effort.» Mike Solomon

«I think this version of JIRA Portfolio is the solution for planning and seeing all possible scenarios.»

Fabio Genovese, ArtigianoDelSoftware

«It is the tool that Product Managers need to ensure all parts of the organization understand where your team is and what you plan to deliver next in order to produce the highest value to customers and the business. Additionally, Portfolio offers the ability to create and report on themes which is so beneficial. The integration with JIRA is excellent.»

«Using it at Ubisoft since more than 6 years. Its now a essential addon in our company and a must have to plan track and manage many level of issues.»

«Very versatile, great usability and user documentation – one of the best solutions in the market for a lot of project management use cases. Looking forward a lot for Structure!» Philip Staat, Atlassian Consultant

«One of the reasons it is so popular, is it can really do a lot at the granular level of issues and sub-issues. Also, I really enjoying the constant little add-ons you are adding like Testy, and now Pages in the beta version. I like seeing all of my issues and projects right in front of me in one grid. I can do that with this tool. I am a huge fan, and definitely recommend.»Evan Golden, Adaptivist

In a nutshell, Portfolio management developed from macro to micro approach(and back again). First, it draws attention to Portfolio as a whole. Then the span of attention is shifted on projects and its divisions. As a last resort, it focuses on tasks and subtasks.

Our company can help you mastering Portfolio Management in your company. Thanks to our assistance a number of companies fostered their environment, minimized risks. We make sure that success happens not only today!


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