Value Management Office (VMO)
Enabling Strategy and Investment Funding
- Coordinate the LPM Kickoff event – An LPM kickoff event is a common successful pattern that generates alignment and engagement among the various stakeholders at the start of the LPM journey. The VMO typically prepares and facilitates this event. It ensures the entire portfolio, including those working within the ARTs and solutions trains, is ready for the upcoming changes. Topics often include:
- Refining the LPM adoption roadmap and aligning on expected outcomes
- Scheduling of the agreed-upon LPM events
- Establishing a common PI cadence across the portfolio
- Refining the portfolio backlog and reviewing current in-flight work
- Establishing the portfolio kanban system
- Agreeing to remove legacy policies and practices
- Gathering critical inputs – Enabling the LPM adoption, the VMO works with the LACE and portfolio leaders to collect critical portfolio inputs, such as the current Strategic Themes, Portfolio Vision, and Lean Budget allocations. Communicating this information creates transparency and alignment across all the value streams in the portfolio.
- Coordinate Lean Budget Guardrails – Lean Budget Guardrails describe the policies and practices for budgeting, spending, and governance for a specific portfolio. The VMO partners with enterprise executives and business owners to craft and enforce these guardrails, considering the current context of the portfolio. The VMO also coaches others, such as Solution and Product Management, to ensure these guardrails are understood and applied well.
- Facilitate effective LPM events – The strategic portfolio review and portfolio sync ensure alignment between strategy, implementation, and investments. They are typically facilitated by the VMO and held on a cadence. Figure 3 compares these two events.
- Share business context changes
- Update the portfolio kanban, vision, and context
- Gather and visualize progress
- Communicate capacity and financial changes
- Update financial tools and reporting
- Ensure actions are updated
- Ensure key attendees are committed
Coordinating Agile Portfolio Operations
- Develop, harvest, and apply successful Team and ART execution patterns – With information gleaned from Scrum Masters/Team Coaches, Release Train Engineers(RTEs), Solution Train Engineers (STEs), the LACE, and CoPs, the VMO can optimize, address, and debug issues from Agile Teams and ARTs. The VMO can take a systems view and identify the bottlenecks and inefficiencies across all of the Portfolio’s value streams. Can any handoffs be eliminated? Can any tasks be automated? Can any approvals be streamlined?
- Foster operational excellence – The VMO’s focus on operational excellence applies to continually improving efficiency, practices, and results of LPM. They provide visibility into the progress of portfolio epics, strategic themes, and value stream KPIs, creating transparency across the portfolio and enterprise. This helps ensure that everyone is aligned on priorities and that any scarce or expensive resources are used efficiently.
- Cross-value stream coordination – As the Value Stream Coordination article describes, the VMO, alongside RTEs and STEs, is typically responsible for helping to manage dependencies that exist between value streams as well as exploiting the opportunities that exist in the interconnections. The VMO coordinates the shared schedule for the PI Planning, System Demo, and Inspect & Adapt events required to deliver Epics that span value streams.
Applying Lean Governance
- Gather and analyze value stream measurements – The VMO measures and reports on the performance of the value streams in the portfolio. This data can be used to identify systemic improvement areas and consider progress over time. The VMO will use its expertise to bring information to portfolio syncs and other alignment sessions like Participatory Budgeting around the parts of the value streams that are delivering the most value to customers and the enterprise. This research helps the LPM invest in resources that will help to address bottlenecks and inefficiencies. The VMO, as an example, may suggest hiring new team members, purchasing new tools, or training to acquire new skills.
- Align with other portfolios – The VMO, alongside other portfolio VMOs, provides the combined input needed for Enterprise Portfolio Management to keep multiple portfolios aligned.
- Evolve supplier relationships with agile contracts – The VMO assists value streams that require supplier relationships to develop clear processes for navigating this change. The VMO helps coordinate Agile contracts that maximize economic value for all parties in the short and long term. With suppliers and contracting, they strive to create flexible and transparent approaches to investment that motivate all parties to build the best solution possible. The group also spreads learnings from successful relationships into other value streams.
- Document and communicate the LPM governance model – Portfolio leaders and other enterprise leaders are responsible for crafting how LPM will be operationalized. VMO ensures the processes are communicated, aligned, and updated as they mature.
Supporting the Transformation
- Coordinate transformation with LACE – Together, the LACE and VMO ensure the SAFe Implementation Roadmap is applied across each portfolio. The LACE provides training and supports value execution on Agile practices, while the VMO helps ARTs and value stream to continuously measure and improve their value delivery performance via activities like value stream mapping.
- Help identify and launch value streams – The VMO assists the LACE in launching and integrating new value streams within a SAFe portfolio and an LPM context. They also partner with portfolio leaders to inform conversations around emerging value streams with relevant data and collated market research.
- Measure and grow the LPM core competency – The VMO supports those struggling with LPM practices by providing training on the skills and practices needed for organizational maturity. They focus on improving the effectiveness of LPM events and develop plans to improve transparency and flow. They also facilitate the LPM core competency assessments and use the resultant data to inform future improvements.
- Onboarding new Epic Owners – VMO members coach and guide new Epic Owners through defining and communicating their vision and developing a Lean Business Case. The VMO supports the epic owners in coordinating with key stakeholders and monitoring and communicating the progress of their epics. Since new epic owners will often emerge as the work progresses through the portfolio kanban system, sometimes with no previous SAFe or LPM background, this support is critical to maintaining flow and a positive culture across the portfolio.