Book review: “Agile Portfolio Management – The Bridge to Strategic Agility”


How to react faster with the vertical dimension of agilie project management

How often haven’t we read or heard that Agility isn’t a silver bullet or a quick fix and how many organisations have tried to implement agility but failed in achieving the expected benefits – many.

In the foreword in the book V. Kapoor, CEO of Waada Group, states that most organisations have implemented agility in a horizontal way and forgot the vertical dimension – the managerial dimension.

This book takes the vertical dimension a step further and relates it to the portfolio management in the organisation. How to react faster (decisions wise) and to start the transition to become far more agile – if there should be a need for it, another important point in the book. To be agile is not a target itself, it could be a tool to realize faster changes.

10 focus areas are visualised in the book

The journey to implement a more “Discovery based” portfolio management is operationalized into 10 dimensions – focus areas. The 10 dimensions are visualised in a continuum from Plan Based (left side) to very much Discovery based (right side). This makes the continuum a framework for an assessment on where an organisation is, As Is – and where it wants to move, To Be. The dimensions can be seen as an tempt to “bridge” the transition. Hence the subtitle of the book.

So why could an organisation not just use Management of Portfolio (MoP) or even SAFe? The authors do present their findings why not, MoP is found very much to the left and SAFe not totally to the right – in the continuum. Therefore, a new framework – this book.

Well explained chapters including video introductions and questions to reflect on

Every dimension is presented and explained one at the time in chapters. Each chapter has a unique QR code that refers to a short 2-3 min. introduction on YouTube. Every chapter in the book starts with several “reflection questions” – to warm up the reader. The chapters then introduce and explains the dimension, one at the time, and every chapter ends with a summery in form of insights, recommendations how to start implementing. For every dimension there are reel-examples from organisations on how they did it. Every chapter also recommends literature for further relevant studies. Indeed, to reader is being “taken by the hand” through the chapters and the books framework.

Besides the insight in the 10 dimensions, their use and effect, the book also presents and explains a huge number of abbreviations and terms used in project management; RAG, RAT, MVP, OCPI, OKR, QBR, ART etc. Indeed, very useful.

In the epilogue the authors state their advice to change the portfolio management method in an organisation – start with where you can change – slowly and keep changing, it as an endeavour that never ends. Very vice advise.

Finally, to summarize the value of the book, in the book there is a quote from H. Ford; “If it doesn’t add value – it´s waste”. This book is no waste – it’s a must read.

Michael Fleron
Jeg er Project management konsulent, og har en Master in Project management.