What is a project management portfolio?

What does it mean to have an “agile” strategic planning process?

Gain alignment across your enterprise for maximum operational effectiveness.

More and more, there is a case being made for scaling agile in the enterprise. 


What does it mean to have an “agile” strategic planning process?


Planning above the portfolio level is central to a business’s ability to adequately respond to change. In other words, higher-level planning must evolve before business agility can be achieved.


We can’t emphasize this enough: the most important component of agile success is strategic planning. 


All strategic planning is not created equal. 

Here, we’ll take a look at the pitfalls of the traditional strategic planning process and how the agile version creates opportunities for modern organizations to execute as efficiently as possible and confidently meet corporate goals.


How traditional strategic planning falls short?


Business-as-usual strategic planning typically includes a one-, three-, or five-year plan, with budgeting reviewed annually. 

There are three basic problems with this approach: 


  • Matching capacity to demand is costly and inaccurate: As a company moves through their budget planning process, executives put together their “wish list,” or projects they aim to tackle during the following year(s). But as you’ve probably experienced first-hand at one point or another, more projects are scoped than can realistically be completed.
  • Budget allocation is excessive, which leads to irresponsible spending: The unrealistic scope mentioned earlier often leads to unused budget dollars from funded projects left uncompleted.  The most common solution: “Spend the money!”  To prove to executives that the funding is necessary for the upcoming year, the remaining budget is spent on unnecessary items, rather than given back to the company.
  • Inflexibility makes it impossible to make quick investment decisions: Traditional strategic planning not only lacks a fluid, ongoing review of a projects’ relevance to a particular initiative, but also hinders your ability to change course without hitting major roadblocks. If, for instance, certain projects no longer make sense as the year nears its end, one of two things typically happens: you make a change or you maintain status quo.

Enterprise agility saves the day


Agile portfolio planning at scale means strategy is defined by the enterprise, and decisions on how much to invest are motivated by value measurement as projects are completed and products are steadily released. Teams complete work that strategically makes sense for the company on an ongoing basis, and resources are allocated according to what is paying off as expected, and what isn’t.

With adaptability top of mind, the Uppwise agile strategic planning process promotes flexibility and revisits long-term plans to validate priorities and confirm that work to be completed in upcoming program increments is still the highest priority for the organization and aligned with the strategy.