23 November 2012

Reverse the Portfolio board: Start with what we learned.

I have been putting a view of a portfolio of programs in front of an executive team. My agenda has been to increase the discussion about the value and lessons learned from projects.

There is an underlying assumption (by me) that we can ‘do better’ by reflecting on the lessons that are available in completed projects rather than quickly moving on to the next thing.

Part of the information I present is in the following format. This mock up roughly resembles the spatial aspect of the content as well. Each time I look at a print out of the info on my desk I get a feeling that it is backwards. (As you cans see it’s the reverse order of a typical agile board.)
What can we learn from our past?
The reason it looks like this instead of a normal team board is because of the following two points;

  • It reflects the passage of time. The now vertical column separates the past and future. 
  • The thing I think is most important is what we are learning from our past performance – so that is up front 

Co-incidentally I discovered a colleague Kim Ballestrin has written up an interesting blog post on doing the same thing in a personal kanban context. Check out her experiment and insights here. It's quite an interesting post that reinforces my view that this is the right way to go.

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