Bimodal Portfolio Management (BimodalPfM) helps an organization manage both agile and traditional portfolios concurrently. Bimodal Portfolio Management – sometimes referred to as bimodal development – was coined by research and advisory company Gartner. The firm argued that many agile organizations still needed to run some aspects of their operations using traditional delivery models.
|Definition||Bimodal Portfolio Management is an approach that divides an organization’s projects into two modes: Mode 1 (Traditional) and Mode 2 (Innovative/Agile).||– Allows for managing both stable, core operations and innovation simultaneously.||Mode 1: Routine IT maintenance and infrastructure projects. Mode 2: New product development, agile initiatives.||Portfolio optimization, resource allocation, and strategic alignment with business objectives.|
|Mode 1 (Traditional)||Mode 1 focuses on managing stable, predictable projects that are critical to the organization’s ongoing operations.||– Emphasizes reliability, efficiency, and established processes.||Implementing upgrades to existing software systems.||Ensuring the stability and continuity of core business functions through standardized project management approaches.|
|Mode 2 (Innovative/Agile)||Mode 2 involves projects that are exploratory, dynamic, and aimed at innovation or responding to rapidly changing market conditions.||– Encourages experimentation, adaptability, and agility.||Developing a new mobile app for emerging market opportunities.||Nurturing innovation, fostering a culture of agility, and accelerating time-to-market for new products or services.|
|Risk Tolerance||Mode 1 projects typically have lower risk tolerance, as any disruptions can impact core operations. Mode 2 projects accept higher levels of risk due to their innovative nature.||– Balancing risk between modes to align with organizational goals.||Mode 1: Focus on risk mitigation and predictability. Mode 2: Embrace uncertainty and encourage calculated risk-taking.||Strategic risk assessment, risk management strategies, and risk-adjusted resource allocation based on project type and impact.|
|Resource Allocation||Mode 1 projects often receive consistent, stable resources as they are essential for ongoing operations. Mode 2 projects may require dynamic resource allocation based on evolving needs.||– Ensuring the availability of resources needed for each mode.||Allocating dedicated teams to Mode 2 projects while maintaining core teams for Mode 1.||Resource planning, capacity management, and prioritization to meet the specific requirements of each project mode.|
|Performance Metrics||Mode 1 projects are typically evaluated based on traditional KPIs like ROI and cost-effectiveness. Mode 2 projects may use metrics like time-to-market and innovation adoption.||– Aligning performance metrics with project objectives and mode.||Measuring Mode 1 projects with financial performance indicators. Measuring Mode 2 projects with customer adoption rates.||Defining clear success criteria for each project mode and assessing performance accordingly.|
|Change Management||Change management in Mode 1 focuses on minimizing disruption. In Mode 2, it emphasizes adaptability and a willingness to pivot based on feedback.||– Adapting change management approaches to project mode.||Mode 1: Gradual changes with comprehensive training. Mode 2: Iterative changes with continuous learning.||Tailoring change management strategies to the unique characteristics and objectives of projects in each mode.|
Understanding Bimodal Portfolio Management
Here, Gartner notes that “marrying a more predictable evolution of products and technologies (Mode 1) with the new and innovative (Mode 2) is the essence of an enterprise bimodal capability.”
Put differently, the enterprise does not need to choose solely between an agile approach or a traditional waterfall methodology. Both can be used interchangeably to achieve agility and stability, allowing businesses to successfully expand agile practices into other operations.
Bimodal Portfolio management principles
BimodalPfM combines principles from several existing approaches including DA, SAFe, and SfPfM.
Here are some of the more pertinent principles:
Senior management commitment
Upper management must champion the value of BimodalPfM by backing up their words with actions and not delegating their obligations to others.
Alignment of governance, customer, and strategy
Active involvement of key stakeholders is encouraged, but portfolio governance must remain aligned with the wider organizational structure.
The larger or more complex the project, the higher the chance that it will fail. Businesses should use the iterative and incremental nature of agile principles to their advantage.
To continuously re-evaluate opportunities, decision-makers should implement a rolling wave over an annual plan. Too many organizations create an annual plan in the knowledge that major changes are likely to render it obsolete. Agility in this area reduces costs associated with delays, losses, and plan revisions.
Five key components of Bimodal Portfolio Management
While BimodalPfM is an effective strategy, many advocates concede that the bimodal approach can create obstacles to delivery speed.
However, these obstacles can be overcome by considering five key elements:
If a team with the right to prioritize its own work is dependent on others for an outcome, a dependency management strategy should be created to reduce delays.
Work and delivery teams
How do teams engage with other teams across delivery methods to achieve desired outcomes? Is the process efficient?
Saving time here means that teams clearly and concisely articulate the terms of engagement.
In the context of BimodalPfM, culture means that staff have respect for alternative delivery models – regardless of whether they are agile or traditional.
There should be more of a focus on practicality and less debate on which method is superior.
Before beginning, it’s important to clarify funding agreements for work that is being shared by both models.
Recognize that Project Funding and Capacity Funding are different models and as a result, require different decisions.
Agile methodologies favor de-centralized decision making which invariably challenges the centralized governance structure common in many organizations.
To increase decision-making speed, it is once again important to clarify the most effective model beforehand.
Furthermore, businesses should always remember that it is in their best interests to make fast and accurate decisions.
- Bimodal Portfolio Management allows a business to de-risk agile change management initiatives by utilizing a mix of agile and traditional methodologies.
- Bimodal Portfolio Management borrows concepts from many other agile frameworks. Primarily, BimodalPfM works best when there is complete buy-in from upper management and alignment of governance, customer, and strategy.
- During implementation, Bimodal Portfolio Management can create delivery speed issues. Some of these issues can be overcome by determining whether agile or traditional approaches are best suited to a particular context.
- Bimodal Portfolio Management Defined: Bimodal Portfolio Management (BimodalPfM) is a concept introduced by Gartner to help organizations manage both agile and traditional portfolios concurrently. It recognizes the need for businesses to incorporate aspects of both agile and traditional delivery models to achieve agility and stability.
- Balancing Predictability and Innovation: BimodalPfM emphasizes combining a predictable evolution of products and technologies (Mode 1) with new and innovative approaches (Mode 2). This approach allows enterprises to blend agile and traditional methodologies for different aspects of their operations.
- Principles of Bimodal Portfolio Management:
- Senior Management Commitment: Top-level management support is crucial for the successful implementation of BimodalPfM.
- Alignment of Governance, Customer, and Strategy: Key stakeholders’ involvement is encouraged while ensuring portfolio governance aligns with the organizational structure.
- Simplicity: Utilize agile’s iterative and incremental nature, especially for larger or complex projects, to enhance chances of success.
- Flexibility: Employ a rolling wave approach for annual plans to adapt to changing circumstances and reduce costs associated with revisions.
- Five Key Components of Bimodal Portfolio Management:
- Dependency Management: Address dependencies between teams with varying priorities to minimize delays.
- Work and Delivery Teams: Optimize interactions between teams using different delivery methods to achieve efficient outcomes.
- Culture: Foster a culture of respect for both agile and traditional delivery models, emphasizing practicality.
- Funding: Clarify funding agreements for work shared by both models, considering differences between Project Funding and Capacity Funding.
- Decision Making: Balance de-centralized decision making favored by agile with the centralized governance structure in organizations.
- Challenges and Considerations: While BimodalPfM can effectively de-risk agile change management, it may introduce obstacles to delivery speed. Businesses must carefully consider context and choose the most suitable approach for various aspects of their operations.
- Key Takeaways:
- Bimodal Portfolio Management combines agile and traditional methodologies for balanced change management.
- It involves senior management support, alignment of governance and strategy, simplicity, flexibility, and other principles.
- Challenges can arise during implementation, which can be addressed by considering key components and making context-specific decisions.
Connected Agile & Lean Frameworks
- Business Models
- Business Strategy
- Business Development
- Distribution Channels
- Marketing Strategy
- Platform Business Models
- Network Effects
Main Case Studies: