How to Achieve Agile Portfolio Management with the Help of Tempo Budgets for JIRA

Tempo Budgets for JIRA is built with agile teams in mind. It is easily customizable and flexible, just as working in the agile environment should be.

Cost control, on the other hand, is often seen as an unpleasant necessity of business and rarely regarded as something that can be open and flexible, therefore making it seem “non Agile”. 

How do you achieve Agile Portfolio Management? There is no one way, but here’s how we can help.

As we’re always preaching, Tempo Products are flexible, and they really are, trust me. Tempo Budgets, for example, can be used to track financials in many ways.

Tempo Folio was rebranded to Tempo Budgets at the end of September. It is the same product with the same functionalities, just with a new name that better describes the product. Read all about the new features and re-branding here

Beyond budgeting

Although there are many best practices, there is no one size fits all for budgeting and with the movement towards adopting beyond budgeting techniques, it’s becoming more and more clear that different practices work better for different kinds of workplaces, whether it be because of industry, size, geographical location, or many other factors.

A move towards transparency 

For the primary personas of Tempo Budgets, it’s important to be transparent with both their teams and their managers to ensure that budgets can be tweaked as needed, adequate resources are provided, and overall employee satisfaction is heightened.

In order to do this, we need to start at the bottom and explore the main pain points of our primary personas:

Product Managers

For product managers or directors in charge of the development and budget of a product, efficiency and accurate data are on the list of top priorities. It’s important to deliver on time and within budget.

Portfolio Managers

Portfolio managers or CEO/CFOs need a high level overview of the status of the product development and projects within the company without spending too much time finding that information. They want to know, at a glance, how things are going and if certain teams are over or under spending.

Agile Portfolio Management

So how do we make these jobs as agile as possible without throwing budgets and cost control out the window?

Here are some of the main goals of the agile project portfolio management roles:

Product ManagerPortfolio Managers
Create budgets for their team for each release or each quarter.Approve budgets for each team within the company.
Control and track the budget and costs of their product development per release or per quarter.Get rolled up financial data of all development and non-development teams throughout the organization.
Provide accurate information about the financial health of their product development.View the status of initiatives within the organization.
Revisit their required budget at regular intervals, either based on release or done quarterly.Get an accurate depiction of value streams within the company and revisit allocated resources at regular intervals based on this information.
Ensure continuous improvement and secure the necessary resources to do that.Focus on value streams rather than cost centers to ensure all teams are adequately funded to be successful, while maintaining profitability.

If you’re working in agile, implementing beyond budgeting principles, and the goals above align somewhat with your own, I suggest setting up your Tempo Budgets instance along the following lines.

Possible way to set up Tempo Budgets to achieve goals

  • Product managers (or any team lead in charge of their budget) are the owners of their own folios, which is the name we use for financial projects.
  • The product manager creates a folio for each release or quarter.

For development teams working with SAFe release trains, it might make sense to make a folio for each release and use story points to establish the estimated work effort. For non-development teams, it might be better to track budgets on a quarterly basis.

  • This user would then organize all of those folios in a portfolio for their product/ team for the entire year to get an overview of health and progress over time.
  • Portfolio managers or CFO/CEOs can easily access these portfolios on a high level and even organize them into higher-level portfolios for the entire company to get a bird’s eye view of the health of all initiatives in real-time.

Since the tool is flexible, the set up can be adjusted at any time if things aren’t working.

Tempo Budgets | portfolio-overview

(Portfolio Overview in Tempo Budgets)

When using a product that provides real time data about the financial health of projects, you can identify problems early on and react in a timely manner. Portfolio Managers can see what cost streams are spending and tweak allocated resources at any time to make the financial side of operations more flexible.

Working towards an agile financial project portfolio management strategy is just as much about improving work life as it is making cost control more flexible and efficient.

The possibilities are endless

This is just one way two of the primary roles in your company can move towards a more agile portfolio management strategy with the help of Tempo Budgets.

Since agile is all about being flexible and re-visiting things regularly to continuously improve, I suggest trying out this set up and seeing how it works. If you can find a better way, revisit it and tweak it as needed. After all, that’s the agile way. 

As always, happy budgeting.

Need more training to get your Tempo Budgets set up up and running?

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Marta is one of Tempo's superhuman Product Marketing Managers, in her case a llama. When not writing, promoting, and optimizing she enjoys running with her dog and drawing imaginary creatures.

2 Responses

  1. John Gordon says:

    Marta,

    I like the idea of breaking up annual budgets into quarterly ones, but I’m uncertain what kind of jira query I should write to achieve this. In other words, how do I keep work from being included in a budget for one quarter and included in another?

    I’m currently trying to manage this by creating a new release in jira agile and assigning all work for a given quarter to that release, but that requires a high level of detail — making sure that every piece of work in the product backlog is assigned to that release can be prone to error and tedious.

    How do you make sure that backlog items from one quarter don’t get included in another?

    Thanks!

    • Marta Schluneger says:

      Hi John,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      There are a few strategies here. You need to chose either automation (reliable, perhaps difficult to configure, but scalable) or manual effort (a bit tedious and prone to error). Either way, you need to specify things at the issue level, be it a release or a due date. The former is what we would recommend, because it integrates well with Tempo Budgets to flag “at risk” issues bumping up against their due date(s).

      Due dates can be bounded by the quarters and incorporated into the JQL query that defines the folio’s scope, like this:

      JQL using due dates

      duedate <= 2017-03-31 I hope this helps and if you have further questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch. Best regards, Marta

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