Portfolio SAFe works at the Portfolio level of the organisation or enterprise. They align the business strategy with solution development through one or more value streams to achieve the business agility. It describes the roles, practices, events, and artifacts of Portfolio configuration.
The three core competencies of Portfolio SAFe are:
Lean Portfolio Management: It works at strategy and execution level by applying Lean and systems thinking approaches.
Continuous Learning Culture: It has a set of values and practices that encourage individuals in the organisation or enterprise to continuously work on increasing skill, competence, knowledge thereby the performance of them is at optimal level and scaled to meet the business demands.
Organizational Agility: It shows how Lean-thinking Agile teams can optimise the business processes, build their strategy with clear vision, and adapt the new opportunities to evolve.
SAFe for Government is implementing Lean-Agile practices and success patterns in a government public sector with the SAFe. This Lean and Agile thinking leads to the success of projects developed than using traditional waterfall methods used in the private sector.
The Portfolio Backlog is the highest-level backlog in SAFe. It consists of business epics and enabler epics that are needed to create business solutions.
Portfolio epics are built and managed through Portfolio Kanban across various states of the process. They are reviewed and approved or rejected by Lean Portfolio Management (LPM). Approved portfolio epics are moved to the portfolio backlog for implementing them by one or more Agile Release Trains (ARTs) or Solution Trains.
Guard rails help to create an Agile environment rapidly for the high-performing teams. They safeguard the teams from accidentally running off a cliff (for example, deleting code in production without a backup). The Guard rails help in establishing policies and practices of governance for a portfolio.
Participatory Budgeting (PB) is a Portfolio SAFe process where the Enterprise funds a portion of its total budget to each portfolio. In turn, the total portfolio budget is allocated to its value stream using Lean Portfolio Management (LPM).
Funnel, Review, Analysis are the states of the portfolio kanban. They are defined as:
Funnel – It is the first state where all new business or technology ideas (or proposals) of the Portfolio. They are described in simple short phrases and there are no WIP limits. These items are of pending review and analysis.
Review – Epics are sponsored by the Epic Owner. They are the key enterprise investments. When the capacity is available, Epic Owner pulls the epic into this state. WIP limits may be specified for this state. Once the epics are approved, they are ready to move to analysis state. If the epics are not sufficiently viable, then they are moved to done state.
Analysis – When the Epic Owner has the capacity and there is room for WIP limit, then epics are pulled into analysing. One -page Lean business use case, definition of minimum viable product (MVP), enablers, small research spikes, updated WSJF, and Go/No-Go decision on moving to the Portfolio Backlog are available in this state. Tools like the BCG Growth/Share Matrix might be used to support the analysis. Go decision confirms the epic is approved and ready for implementation. No-Go decision moves the epic to done.
In the Portfolio Backlog (Approved Epics), all workflow states except Funnel has WIP-limit. WSJF is continuously refined across all kanban states and reviewed periodically in cadence to ensure that progress flows continuously to the program teams for further refinement.
Value Streams are the funded initiatives through which the products or services are developed and maintained in the portfolio that generates revenue.
Portfolio Kanban is the system that makes the work visible and uses Work-in-Process (WIP) limits to ensure that the available capacity and demand are matched. These activities are from the value streams and Agile Release Trains (ARTs).