Working in a multi-team, multi-program, multi-product environment brings several challenges. One of those is providing a smooth flow of work to teams, and incorporating their feedback, while staying responsive to the needs of the business in a changing environment. This Experience Report documents several years’ experience working in such environments. The focus of this Experience Report is specifically on managing the portfolio backlog, not the full scope of what could be considered under a portfolio management strategy and implementation. We have found that getting the portfolio backlog management strategy right is a key element in the success of the overall portfolio management approach.

It sounds like it should be straightforward: create a list of all the work the organization has to do, get the right people together, prioritize the work, make changes as needed. The reality proves to be far from obvious. The attempt to provide a portfolio backlog approach brings the organization’s agility into sharp focus. Those business units that make it work effectively find that having an approach for managing the portfolio of work contributes to overall organization responsiveness.

This Experience Report will share several lessons learned, and highlight some pitfalls to avoid, when designing your own portfolio backlog management approach.

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