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Who's Who in Lean Portfolio Management: Understanding the Key Roles and Responsibilities

Updated: Mar 26, 2023

Lean Portfolio Management (LPM) is a crucial element of the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) that ensures alignment between the portfolio and enterprise strategy. It involves various roles that work together to manage the portfolio, prioritize initiatives, allocate resources, and ensure that the organization is meeting its goals and objectives. In this blog post, we will explore the different roles involved in LPM according to SAFe, their tasks and responsibilities, and why they are essential to make the LPM level work.

Lean Portfolio Management

Portfolio Manager


The Portfolio Manager is responsible for the overall success of the portfolio and ensuring that initiatives are aligned with the enterprise strategy. Their tasks include developing the portfolio vision and strategy, prioritizing initiatives based on their potential return on investment, and ensuring that resources are allocated effectively. They are also responsible for monitoring and reporting on the progress of initiatives and making adjustments as necessary to ensure that the portfolio remains aligned with the organization's goals and objectives.

The Portfolio Manager is critical to the success of LPM as they are responsible for developing and executing the portfolio strategy. They ensure that the portfolio is aligned with the enterprise strategy, that resources are allocated effectively, and that initiatives are prioritized based on their potential return on investment. Without a Portfolio Manager, there would be no one to oversee the portfolio and ensure that it is delivering value to the organization.


Portfolio Product Manager


The Portfolio Product Manager is responsible for managing the portfolio backlog and ensuring that initiatives are prioritized based on their value and alignment with the portfolio strategy. Their tasks include working with business owners and stakeholders to understand customer needs, analyzing market trends, and identifying opportunities for growth. They also work with Agile Release Trains (ARTs) to ensure that the portfolio backlog is aligned with the organization's goals and objectives.

The Portfolio Product Manager is critical to the success of LPM as they are responsible for ensuring that the portfolio backlog is aligned with the organization's goals and objectives. They work with business owners and stakeholders to understand customer needs and identify opportunities for growth, ensuring that the portfolio is delivering value to the organization.


Epic Owners


Epic Owners are responsible for managing epics, which are large initiatives that typically span multiple ARTs. Their tasks include defining the scope and objectives of the epic, developing the epic roadmap, and ensuring that the epic is aligned with the portfolio strategy. They work closely with ARTs to ensure that the epic is broken down into smaller, more manageable features that can be delivered by individual teams.

Epic Owners are critical to the success of LPM as they are responsible for managing large initiatives that span multiple ARTs. They ensure that the epic is aligned with the portfolio strategy and that it is broken down into smaller features that can be delivered by individual teams. Without Epic Owners, there would be no one to manage large initiatives that span multiple ARTs, which could lead to a lack of alignment and coordination across the organization.


Agile Program Manager


The Lean Portfolio Management (LPM) Facilitator is responsible for facilitating LPM events and ensuring that the LPM process is followed consistently across the organization. Their tasks include facilitating LPM events such as Portfolio Sync, Portfolio Review, and Portfolio Backlog Refinement, and ensuring that the outcomes of these events are documented and communicated effectively. They also work with the Portfolio Manager to identify areas for improvement and ensure that the LPM process is continuously improved.

The LPM Facilitator is critical to the success of LPM as they ensure that the LPM process is followed consistently across the organization. They facilitate LPM events and ensure that the outcomes of these events are documented and communicated effectively. Without an LPM Facilitator, there would be no one to ensure that the LPM process is followed consistently across the organization, which could lead to a lack of


The Enterprise Architect (EA)


The Enterprise Architect (EA) is another key role in Lean Portfolio Management (LPM) in SAFe. The EA is responsible for defining and maintaining the organization's overall technical and architectural vision and ensuring that it is aligned with the portfolio and enterprise strategies. This includes identifying and managing technical debt, defining technical standards, and providing guidance and support to Agile teams and Solution Trains.

The EA is also responsible for facilitating the coordination of technical activities across the organization and ensuring that technical solutions are integrated and aligned with the overall architecture. This includes collaborating with other architects, Solution Train Engineers, Product Management, and Agile teams to identify dependencies, manage risks, and ensure that solutions are scalable, secure, and comply with regulatory requirements.

In addition, the EA is responsible for overseeing the development and management of the organization's technology roadmap and ensuring that it is aligned with the portfolio and enterprise strategies. This includes evaluating emerging technologies, identifying opportunities for innovation, and providing guidance on technology investments.


Conclusion

In conclusion, Lean Portfolio Management in SAFe requires a range of roles and responsibilities to ensure the effective management of the portfolio. The roles involved in LPM are critical to achieving the organization's strategic goals and delivering value to customers. The responsibilities of each role are unique but interconnected, emphasizing the importance of collaboration and alignment across the organization. The LPM roles and their responsibilities include:

  • Portfolio Manager: responsible for developing and executing the portfolio strategy and prioritizing initiatives based on their value and alignment with the organization's goals.

  • Portfolio Product Manager: responsible for the product vision, roadmap, and backlog, ensuring that initiatives are aligned with the product strategy and customer needs.

  • Epic Owner: responsible for defining and prioritizing epics and ensuring their alignment with the portfolio strategy and product vision.

  • Agile Program Manager: responsible for the planning and execution of program increments, ensuring that resources are allocated effectively and dependencies are managed.

  • Enterprise Architect: responsible for the technical direction of the organization, ensuring that initiatives are aligned with the enterprise architecture and promoting consistency and efficiency.

Each of these roles is critical to the success of LPM and requires a unique skill set and expertise. Collaboration and alignment across roles and teams are essential to ensure that the portfolio is managed effectively and delivers value to customers. By understanding the roles and responsibilities involved in LPM, organizations can implement SAFe more effectively and achieve their strategic objectives.

If you're a portfolio manager struggling to fulfill your role in Lean Portfolio Management, I can provide you with the necessary training and collaboration services to help you achieve your objectives. My expertise in LPM and SAFe can be leveraged to customize guidance and best practices that are tailored to your organization's unique needs. Contact me today to learn more about my training and collaboration services, and take the first step towards realizing your strategic objectives.


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