The I&IS Programme & Portfolio board is used to simply visualise the current WIP. It is immediately apparent that the department has far too many projects in flight concurrently. The colour coding is used to show the contention ratio across the various teams. Now this is visible, project managers are able to collaborate by resetting stakeholder expectations and queuing up projects. This is a vast improvement from pushing projects into teams with no consideration for contention ratio and getting no where.
Abstract WIP & Actual WIP
Once we’d introduced Kanban to the various delivery teams in operations and thus limited their work in progress, it became apparent that although project managers had projects in flight, they weren’t actually being worked on. To represent this, two columns are used to visualise portfolio level WIP – Abstract WIP and Actual WIP.
A big learning point from this exercise is the importance of not looking at the portfolio in isolation. Traditionally, portfolios are considered the single source of truth. In this new world, the portfolio is only used to visualise overall status of projects. The single source of truth is the individual delivery team boards. The delivery boards show not only the project work, but they also display the other classes of demand – incidents, BAU, and service line requests.