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Are you struggling with getting your projects to run smoothly in a large organization? Become a fully agile on all levels.

Making Large Organizations Agile on All Levels

Are you one of those thinking “Large organizations and easy-to-use project management tools just don’t mix”? Is this because you are struggling with getting your projects to run smoothly in a large organization? In this article you find out how to do just that on the three levels that all (well, at least 99.9%) need to handle to successfully become a fully agile working organization.

We frequently speak to large agile working enterprises that is all about scaling the practices that have made certain teams so successful. Agile and agile mind is the same no matter the scale, but in large organizations you have to do it right on Portfolio, Program/Product and Team/Project level.

Regardless of framework, organizations typically think of scaling Agile on three levels: Portfolio, Program (or Project) and Team. At all three levels, the focus should be on staying as close to the Agile Manifesto’s four core values and twelve principles. Let’s see how this is done in Favro thanks to the tools limitless flexibility.

Level 1: Portfolio

Even though Agile working is a natural fit for teams, we’ll start at the top of the organization with the Portfolio. Just as with the teams who are directly creating value, the executive or leadership level needs to embrace change, strive for continuous improvement and focus on finishing their highest priority initiatives. An excellent way to achieve this is with a Portfolio Backlog combined with a Portfolio Kanban.

The backlog is where you keep all the ideas and options that you could be doing if there was capacity. To avoid clogging the organization with trying to do everything at once you keep them and refine them in the backlog.

favro portfolio board

The Portfolio Kanban Funnel contains Business Initiatives. The board gives you structure as well as it is an information radiator about what the most important things the organization is working on delivering right now. These Business Initiatives, once selected, reviewed and analyzed will become Business Epics. The Portfolio Backlog should contain all Business Strategy, Product Development, Architecture (Enabler), and Recruitment Epics, which are continuously prioritized. When the organization is ready to implement an Epic, it can be broken down to its own Backlog and shared to a Program level Favro Collection.

favro portfolio board

Level 2: Program / Product

Once at the Program level, the vision of the product can be fleshed out with Program Epics or Capabilities. These Capabilities can then be further broken down into Features and committed to a particular Team Backlog.

favro program board moving cards

Because cards in Favro can exist simultaneously on multiple Backlogs / Boards, a Program Epic can also exist on a Product Roadmap board, indicating what Fiscal Quarter or Milestone should be targeted.

favro program board moving cards

Level 3: Team

Each team working on a Program can have its own Favro Collection. This Collection can contain whatever the team needs to achieve the Capabilities and Features defined in the Program Backlog. Using a Team Backlog, the Features can be broken down into User Stories. These User Stories should be granular enough to be committed to a Team board. Since Favro does not dictate methodology, the teams can work they way they choose. Some teams might prefer a Scrum board, while others might want to work on a Kanban board.

favro team board flow example

Once a User Story has been committed to a team board, tasks can either be defined on the card itself or further broken down to its own task board.

favro team board break down card to backlog

Aligning Across the Three Levels

You now have an understanding of how an Organization can drive Portfolio Initiatives from the Portfolio level to the Program Level to the Team level, aligning everyone to shared goals. Alignment is further facilitated by Favro’s card Relations. Relations show both where cards are committed and the status of the cards on other boards. For example, a Program Epic being worked on by multiple teams will show relations to the Team backlogs, which can be followed down to the Team boards. These Relations go both ways, allowing full traceability up or down the levels of the organization.

favro backlog relations

Favro also has a full feature reporting app, which further supports alignment, traceability, and predictability. Cards from any Collection, Backlog or Board, can be filtered, sorted and even visualized via custom charts and graphs.

favro reporting tool

The Best Way to Start Your Agile Working Journey at Scale

When scaling Agile Working with Favro, it doesn’t matter if you choose a framework with packaged ways of working such as Scaled Agile Framework, LeSS, Nexus, or no framework at all. Teams will be able to create custom boards, allowing them to work the way they want. Programs can align the teams to a unified product vision. And, the Portfolio can drive the business direction and overall goals. It’s one tool to run your entire organization, no matter what the size.

If you’d like to see Favro in action at the Portfolio, Program or Team level, sign up for a tree trial now.

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