Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Portfolio Management: Building An Agile Portfolio Roadmap with MS Project

In my previous articles related to Portfolio Roadmap (Part 1, Part 2), I wrote the following:

“A portfolio roadmap is crucial because it shows the strategic intent of the organization in a visual (graphical) way. Irrespective of the approach used in portfolio management such as predictive (waterfall), adaptive (agile), hybrid or any other, the roadmap acts as an information radiator.”

As you may have noticed, Portfolio Roadmap is also used in adaptive approaches. In this article, we will learn how to have Agile components, using the Scrum framework, in a portfolio roadmap.  

At this stage, I’d strongly recommend that you read the previous two linked articles on the Portfolio Roadmap. Going forward, I’m going to modify that roadmap to include Sprints. Hence, it’s important that you read both.

Our Scenario

For one of the component projects, Project F, the approach used is Agile, specifically Scrum. For Project F, we have three releases and each release will have a number of Sprints. This is depicted below.  

As shown in the above figure, there are many components in our portfolio. The Component Project F consists of three iterations or Sprints. The Sprint length is 4 weeks. The Portfolio Management Office (PfMO) directive is to show all the releases and the Sprints in the portfolio roadmap. 

The Agile Portfolio Roadmap will be similar to the Traditional Roadmap, but differ in visualization. In our case, as noted earlier, we want to have the component project, releases and Sprints.  That said, we will take the following steps. 

Add Agile Custom Flag

To distinguish between the agile and non-agile, we will add another custom Boolean flag - isAgile. This will be in addition to the existing custom flags for component projects, programs and operations.  

Format for Agile Project (Project F)

Next, using the above Boolean flag (isAgile), we will format the Agile related components in the Agile Portfolio Roadmap. The formatting can be done by going to Format tab > Bar Styles group > Format command.  

As shown above, I’ve added an Agile Task above:

  • The appearance is with different color-coding.
  • The conditions applied for the task have the isAgile (flag) enabled.

Now, we are going to add this custom isAgile field and enable it for Project F to be executed in Agile mode.  

As you can see, after I enabled the isAgile custom flag for Project F, the color coding changed. The project has been renamed to Project F (Agile Mode) to make it distinguishable.  

Add Releases to the Component Project (Agile Mode)

In this step, we are going to add the releases to the component project, which is executed in Agile mode. After you add them, we will get the following view. 

As shown above:

  • Project F has three releases – Release 1, Release 2 and Release 3
  • Each release has a 2-month duration. 
  • Each release is highlighted in a separate color.
  • Dependencies among the releases are shown.

You might be wondering about the reason for the change of color of Project F to blue. This is because Project F has now become a Summary Task. Hence, the respective color coding has been applied. 

If you want to keep the same color coding, then you have put the formatting condition below the Summary Task and made some changes to the algorithm.

Add Scrum Custom Flag

To show Sprints under the releases, you can add another custom Boolean flag isScrum, This flag can be added similarly to what we have done for isAgile custom flag.  

Format for Sprints (Project F)

Like we formatted for the releases (Agile mode), similarly, we have to format for the Sprints. You to change the conditions while formatting and applying the Boolean flag isScrum, which we just created.

Next, create the respective Sprints under the releases, and you can see them in the Agile Portfolio Roadmap. This is shown below. 

As shown above:

  • Release 1 has three Sprints – Sprint 1, Sprint 2 and Sprint 3. Release 2 also has three Sprints – Sprint 4, Sprint 5 and Sprint 6.
  • All the Sprints have different formatting and color-coding.
  • Release 3 has no Sprint, and it retains the previous formatting and color coding.
  • With Sprints, Release 1 and Release 2 became Summary Tasks, and hence, they retain the respective formatting and color coding.

Video Demonstration – Portfolio Roadmap 

To have a better understanding, the below video demonstrates further what we have learned so far [Duration: 05m:16s]. 


Sprints are mini-projects with 1 to 4 weeks of duration. As the Sprint length is short, then it’s not necessary to display it in the roadmap. But then, it depends on the organization’s mandate.

Nevertheless, Agile approaches are part of Portfolio Management and if you are preparing for the Portfolio Management Professional (PfMP®) certification exam, then you need to know them, but not extensively.

The Standard for Portfolio Management explicitly notes other approaches as part of Portfolio Management:

“The portfolio management plan (PfMP) may describe or refer to different methodologies or approaches which the organization applies to manage different classes or types of portfolio components, specified in the portfolio roadmap.”

To elaborate further, the PfMP should have sections or reference sections, where different methodologies to be applied are noted. These can be predictive, adaptive (iterative and incremental) or agile, or a hybrid model.

I hope this article gives your needed hands-on information to build an Agile Portfolio Roadmap.


[1] NEW Book – I Want To Be A PfMP, the plain and simple way, by Satya Narayan Dash

[2] Article: Portfolio Management: Building and Managing A Practical Portfolio Roadmap – Part 1, by Satya Narayan Dash

[3] Article: Portfolio Management: Building and Managing A Practical Portfolio Roadmap – Part 2, by Satya Narayan Dash

[4] The Standard for Portfolio Management, by Project Management Institute (PMI)

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