Rally Portfolio Manager Quick Start Guide

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To quickly get started with Rally Portfolio Manager, you should understand the following concepts:

If you need assistance in setting up Rally Portfolio Manager, consider investing in Rally onsite services.

Plan for portfolio management

Before you do any portfolio management in Rally, there are some important concepts to discuss with your organization. Understanding how your organization models your portfolio and identifying the terms you use to talk about it are essential for producing your portfolio in Rally.

Cultural and organization changes

What agile portfolio management needs from upper levels of the organization is leadership. The first change necessary to transition the organization culturally is to move away from command-and-control management and allow teams to self-organize.

For example, internally at Rally, large mother strategies are presented to the organization each year. Desired outcomes for the business are planned and shared company-wide. The departments and teams analyze what portfolios of initiatives and projects can be proposed to achieve our goals. Teams trust that leadership around strategy will be provided, while the upper levels of the organization trust that teams will provide execution.

See the recording and resources from the Agile Portfolio Management: A Cultural Shakeup? webinar for more detail.

Design your portfolio process

Acting on new information enables your business to exploit opportunities, mitigate risks, and maximize value delivered. Portfolio steering helps your organization to easily shift capacity, adjust focus, and even stop initiatives that are no longer the best investments.

Modeling your portfolio in Rally may involve redesigning all or part of your portfolio management process to emphasize value delivery, strategic alignment, and smart steering. Rally coaches can help you implement these process changes and can help you facilitate your portfolio planning and steering events. Rally's Agile Portfolio Steering Workshop guides you in this process and helps you reflect it in Rally Portfolio Manager.

Contact your Rally account representative at sales@rallydev.com to schedule an Agile Portfolio Steering workshop.

Additional resources

More learning resources are available to help your organization shift to agile portfolio management:

The Agile Portfolio Management Toolkit is a collection of datasheets, talks by Agile leaders, past webinars, and other information. Check regularly for new content.

The Scaled Agile Framework model is a great way to see a high-level view and how development and strategy are linked. The Scaled Agile Framework Toolkit ties these concepts back to Rally.

Rally Blogs contain articles on events, methods, and new features related to portfolio management.

Set up Rally with your administrator

Your organization has its own terms for categorizations and levels of strategic work and sizing. In Rally, we represent a specific theme, initiative, or feature using a portfolio item. When you are ready to begin using Rally Portfolio Manager, you will need to name and configure some aspects of portfolio items and projects with your administrator.


Watch the video below for an overview of the steps your administrator will need to take to set up Rally for portfolio management.

Set Up Your Workspace for Rally Portfolio Manager

Set up your project hierarchy

Important! Before you create a new workspace, carefully consider the fact that rollups and reports are performed within a specific workspace. The information to rollup or report on—such as projects, work items (including portfolio items), and fields— must be stored in the same workspace. For that reason, Rally strongly recommends you limit the number of workspaces you create.

There are two types of projects:

  • Strategy
    • For product companies or Independent Software Vendors (ISVs), use a strategy project to represent a product or an area of a product.
    • For Information Technology (IT) organizations, use a strategy project to represent a system, subsystem, or a multi-year program.
    • Create portfolio items in strategy projects.
  • Execution
    • Use an execution project to represent a scrum team, a Kanban team, or a group of such teams.
    • Create user stories in execution projects.

See Set Up Your Project Hierarchy for detailed examples and options for creating your hierarchy.

Portfolio item type

The portfolio item hierarchy models your portfolio where each level represents a different type of strategic goal. The higher types of the hierarchy represent goals or themes to bring to market over a longer period of time. The lower types of the hierarchy represent more discrete items of market value.

Strategy meets execution

Create as many types as you need and name them using the language of your organization. As you create each type, Rally assists you to implement parent-child type rules to keep the hierarchy in order as you design it.

See Manage Roadmaps for details on setting up this field.

[no-lexicon]Investment category[/no-lexicon]

The investment category is a budget or investment area that a portfolio item supports. Define a list of investment categories possible for a portfolio item. Each portfolio item can be associated with one investment category.

See Manage Roadmaps for details on setting up this field.

[no-lexicon]Preliminary estimate[/no-lexicon]

The Preliminary Estimate field represents the size that you think your portfolio item may be. You may identify as many sizes as you like, and for each you must provide a name and numeric value. Rally coaches advise using relative point sizes. These values will be used in future planning features to help you schedule portfolio items into a timeframe.

See Manage roadmaps for details on setting up this field.

[no-lexicon]Value and risk score[/no-lexicon]

You can specify a value or risk score for each portfolio item. The value score is a number that indicates the worth of the portfolio item. The risk score is a number that indicates the chances you will take in bringing the portfolio item to market.

The numbers you use for value and risk scores should have meaning for your organization. Consider using numbers that may be multiplied or graphed in a Rally app to provide more insight in prioritizing portfolio items. You can use a custom field to track textual risk assessment.

Custom fields

As with other Rally work item types, you may add custom fields to portfolio items. These fields display in the editor for each portfolio item regardless of its type. Consider the information that is essential to track for your portfolio that isn't already part of the portfolio item structure.

User permissions

Ensure that users in your projects have the correct permissions, so they may view and edit work items as needed.

For PMO, program managers, and product managers:

  • Set editor permission on strategy projects (where portfolio items are created)
  • Set view permission on execution projects

For engineering:

  • Set editor permission on execution projects
  • Set view permission on strategy projects you want engineering to see

Note that once a Level 1 portfolio item is accepted to flow through a team, you want to relocate that Level 1 portfolio item to be in the execution project. The execution team can then add user stories to the portfolio item. This applies to any project tree structure.

Build your portfolio

Create new portfolio items

If you want to start from nothing, you can create new portfolio items from the Portfolio Items summary page.

If you need to transfer requirements from another system or document, you can import a portfolio to Rally.

Existing epic story hierarchies can be converted to a portfolio. You may also bulk choose existing stories and portfolio items to add to a new hierarchy.

Convert user stories Assign multiple children

Use the hierarchy apps for a way to manage hierarchies using drag-and-drop.

Create a Kanban board

The Portfolio Kanban Board app provides you with a way to visualize the rank and progress of portfolio items. You may install the app on your dashboard or create a custom page that contains multiple boards and other information. You can rank and compare new portfolio work with the app.

See Design a Portfolio Kanban Board in our Coaching Corner.

Where to work with portfolio items

Portfolio Items page

  • Under the Track tab
  • Provides a list view of all portfolio items in the selected projects
  • Specify which fields are displayed
  • Filter and sort
  • Edit, create, copy, rank, and delete portfolio items

Portfolio Kanban Board app

  • Add to your dashboard or a custom page
  • Provides a board view of portfolio progress for a given type
  • Set up custom states to represent progress
  • Set up custom exit agreements to remind teams of requirements
  • Filter the board by custom criteria
  • Track, edit, create, copy, rank, and delete portfolio items

Portfolio Timeline

Portfolio Item Timeline
  • Under the Track tab, or add as an app to a custom page
  • Provides a color-coded view of hierarchy progress compared against initial planned start and end dates
  • Hover over items to see progress statistics
  • Track portfolio items and provide high-level status

Portfolio Hierarchy app

Scheudule State field visible
  • Add to your dashboard or a custom page
  • Provides a tree view of portfolio progress for a given type
  • Reparent items with drag-and-drop
  • Install multiple copies of the app or the Story Hierarchy app and drag items between them
  • Filter by custom criteria
  • Create children, organize hierarchies, and edit portfolio items

Custom Grid app

Bulk edit in Custom Grid
  • Add to your dashboard or a custom page
  • Provides a list view of portfolio items
  • Versatile app to filter and present specific data
  • Filter by custom criteria
  • Sort, edit, bulk edit, copy, and delete portfolio items


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