July 21, 2017 Focus area: Scaling Agile

Understanding Control on the Portfolio level for Agile organizations

Organizations increasingly embrace agile approaches for IT initiatives, replacing rigid formal stage-gate control by flexible outcome-orientation. This challenges established portfolio management approaches that largely rely on consolidated (stage-gate) project metrics. Based on seven case studies of large Dutch organizations we explore these challenges and the organizational responses towards a new approach to portfolio management for agile initiatives. 

Our findings show that portfolio management adapts to agile initiatives by performing fewer and less strict process controls, by modifying the budget controls and by shifting from IT project/program control to business outcome control, with an increased focus on business value. Additional knowledge contributions concerning the role of portfolio management and the notion of trust and communication are uncovered. This white paper provides insights for agile organizations  how to appropriately deal with portfolio management.