Portfolio Level: The Think Tank of the Scaled Agile Framework

“Achieve success in any area of life by identifying the optimum strategies and repeating them until they become habits”- Charles J. Givens

The Portfolio Level is where strategic themes are planned. In any Lean Agile Enterprise, these strategic themes set the tone for developing and achieving the objectives in fulfilling all the requirements necessary for a Value Stream.Thereby creating a solution.

The planning of these strategies include the following aspects:

  • Setting the budgets using Lean Budget techniques for the Value Stream
  • Content for the Program and Solution Backlog
  • Vision for the Agile Release Train.

These aspects are critical when planning the strategic themes.They boardly cover and create a transparent view for what has to be accomplished. It clearly puts into view the budget, resources and the tasks that have to be achieved.

The Artifacts produced are listed below:

  • Strategic Themes
  • Business and Enabler Epics
  • Portfolio Backlog
  • Value Stream

The Participants and their Roles in the Portfolio Level are listed below:

  • Lean Project Management (LPM) – The final authority on approving the Portfolio Backlog.
  • Epic Owner – Creates the business cases that become part of the Portfolio Backlog
  • Enterprise Architect – Provides the technical vision for the solution
  • Enterprise Executives – Provide Feedback

The strategic themes are planned with the collaboration of the Lean Portfolio Management, Epic Owner and Enterprise Architect with the Enterprise Executives. These include the objectives that have to be completed in a value stream, keeping in mind that they are in line with the common vision.

The Enterprise Architect presents a technical strategy for the solution.

Business and Enabler Epics present a clear understanding of what the customer wants in the Value Stream. This maximizes business benefits in the value stream.

Portfolio Backlog contains the strategic themes, business and enabler epics which serve as the basis for creating a solution. These features are taken from the backlog to be implemented.

These have to be approved by the Lean Project Management. They are responsible for assuring that the planning is done in accordance with the Lean-Agile Principles. Upon approval, these themes become the part of the Portfolio Backlog.

The Epic owner in the Portfolio Kanban helps prioritize the items in the backlog.

To match the potential of the Agile Release Train, the items in the backlog are limited by the Work in Process.

The progress of the value stream is monitored with Key Performance Indicators to ensure a continuous workflow. The feedback is given to the stakeholders and done on the current portfolio solutions. It is qualitatively assessed for its strengths and weakness.



  • The budget for a value stream is set using Lean Budgets. This improves financial control and enhances decision making.
  • Organizes the budgets in such way that the understanding of the business is clear.
  • Maintains an optimum flow to provide business value.
  • Effective collaboration of the business and the technical management widely covers the vital aspects necessary for development and also maintains focus on a common vision.
  • Ample room for improvement and embracing change

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