Shaping Portfolio Agility E1 - Portfolios: What are they, and what really matters?

Mar 18, 2024

"Start with questions that paint a picture of today before you try painting a picture of tomorrow" 

Mark Richards 


In this podcast's first episode, we lay the foundations for exploring Lean Portfolio Management. We start with a high-level overview of portfolios and their uses and share our stories of first encountering them. From there, we dig into the few key definitions and elements we feel are critical to setting the stage for the show's arc before diving into the tensions, trade-offs, and recurring definitional pieces.

We stress the importance of being aware of your naturally inherent bias and the criticality of your starting stance:  seeking first to understand. The first questions we pose in pursuit of understanding relate to the nature of the portfolio, the mandate, its context in the ecosystem, and its relationship to strategy, portfolio operations, and governance.

In this episode, we cover:

  • (00:00) Podcast Overview and Origins
  • (02:06) Episode Intro
  • (02:58) Our stance on SAFe's lean portfolio management content
  • (04:33) Where did our journey with portfolio management begin?
  • (15:59) A Portfolio of what?
  • (27:15) What lens do you look through?
  • (33:37) Where do you draw the line between defining and steering the investment and operating the portfolio?
  • (40:31) How do business strategy and business operations interact?
  • (45:25) What key themes recur when considering a portfolio within the enterprise?
  • (1:01:30) Wrap


Eric Willeke

Mark Richards

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