All Collections
Agile 101
Portfolio Kanban
Portfolio Kanban

The powerful visual portfolio management tool

Alexander Sergeev avatar
Written by Alexander Sergeev
Updated over a week ago

Whether you represent a global business corporation or a small IT startup, a product company or a marketing agency, you will have the need to manage a portfolio. 

Portfolio is a related group of initiatives, activities or projects that should be tracked together for getting the entire picture about how that group performs. You are able to manage projects, lines of business, customers, various campaigns as portfolios, take appropriate actions to ensure the overall health of your portfolio. 

There are many traditional portfolio management tools, but Kanban looks like one of the easiest and rather effective portfolio management tools.

The Portfolio Kanban method is designed to improve companies’ ability to deliver by applying the principles of visualization, flow management and limiting WIP.

What is the difference between Portfolio Kanban and Team Kanban?

The key difference between the two methods is that Kanban cards on a Portfolio Kanban board are “parents” of Kanban cards that are placed on a Team Kanban board.

The "parent" Kanban card's status is updated automatically based on the status of every "children" Kanban card.

What are the Kanban advantages to Portfolio management? 

Kanban has the power to be considered as a powerful Portfolio management tool. Here’re it’s main features:


Portfolio management is fundamentally aimed to define the status of projects or activities in a portfolio at any level and to understand the status at the highest level. 

Kanban provides visual nature and its convenient boards assist to get the status of initiatives, projects and the task at a glance.


Kanban is applicable to any workflow or value stream at any level of hierarchy. It can be applied to high-level strategic processes, middle level tactical processes and team level operational ones.


Each initiative in portfolio comprises lower level work items and tasks that must be done to complete each initiative. The collective status of those work-items or tasks represents the status of the higher-level projects or portfolio initiatives. 

Kanban gives you the opportunity to work with boards, cards and tasks, horizontal and vertical columns, so you are able to rollup information in the manner that most makes sense to your company portfolio’s business objectives.


You are able to organize different levels of the Portfolio in Kanban with multiple Swimlanes (horizontal columns).

WIP limits option, Pull approach and explicit policies 

Companies can take on a limited set of activities. At each stage of the project, they can have a limited number of those projects to optimally manage with their resources.

It's rather important that the projects and initiatives be done at optimal flow levels and completed so that additional activities can be undertaken. 

WIP Limits, Pull and explicit policies are great tools to model organizational constraints and encourage teams to complete projects at hand.

Hygger suggests  

Dive deeply into more Kanban methodology terms:

Did this answer your question?