Having one standardized and organized method to keep track of all of your portfolio epics is essential to successful lean portfolio management. Moreover, adopting SAFe practices allows you to manage opportunities and risks via lean business cases that are implemented through the build-measure-learn SAFe Lean Startup Cycle. With this template, you’ll be able to document a business case based on a benefit hypothesis and a defined MVP, rather than a speculative ROI that would require the full potential investment. With Confluence, you can organize all of your portfolio epic documentation in one space, making it easy to analyze inputs, record decisions, and keep everyone aligned to a common objective. Read more on the SAFe epic article.
How to use the SAFe lean business case template
Step 1. Determine the scope and details of the epic.
The creation of the business case is usually the primary responsibility of the epic owner. Before diving into the creation of your lean business case, set the stage for this portfolio epic. Make sure you are creating the lean business case at the right time. It is part of the analyzing phase of the portfolio Kanban system. Too early would create waste, and too late risks making investments without understanding the context. First, decide who will be involved in the proposal, to ensure that all sponsoring stakeholders are included. Then, concisely describe the epic, define how the success of the epic will be measured in the Business Outcomes Hypothesis, and establish what leading indicators will be used to indicate progress. This will help you determine the scope of the epic, and most importantly, how to define your MVP. Make sure to include any background analyses you conducted, and leave space to capture the final go/no-go recommendation.
Step 2. Create the lean business case.
Once you’ve laid down the groundwork, you’re ready to write the lean business case. Start by using the Epic Hypothesis Statement to describe the epic. This provides a short and concise way to define the business rationale, or the “why” of this Epic. Then define what is in and out of scope for this epic, as well as any nonfunctional requirements. Then define the MVP that will be used to test the hypothesis, as well as potential features this MVP will spawn Estimate the cost, preferably in the same currency used to run participatory budgeting. Don’t forget to provide an estimate of the overall cost of the Epic, once the MVP is successful. Lastly, document the kind of value return that is expected from the investment in the epic.
Step 3. Document any supporting data.
Document the solution analysis that was carried out during the analyzing phase. Reference any additional resources, links, and supporting evidence so other team members and stakeholders can access it easily. Ensure that the attachments are labeled, using the Notes and Comments section to jot down any miscellaneous evidence. All of this informs the upcoming go/no-go decision. Be careful of information overload. The lean business case was created to make the process of laying out a business case faster and to make the review process easier. Attaching too many support documents in this field can slow down the reviewers and negate some of the benefits. Alternatively, this space can be used to document notes during your team planning meetings.
Step 4. Keep the epic up to date.
As analysis and implementation of the MVP continue, keep the lean business case up to date to facilitate any portfolio review meetings or future portfolio funding.
Scaled Agile, Inc. is the provider of the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe). Through courses, trainings, partners, and solutions, Scaled Agile, Inc. provides practices for scaling agile practices across the entire company. Through SAFe, they empower large and complex organizations to achieve the benefits of Lean-Agile software and systems development at scale.
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