Achieving Agility in IT Project Portfolios: A Systematic Literature Review

Joseph Puthenpurackal*, T. Huygh, Steven De Haes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Article in proceedingAcademicpeer-review

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Over the past two decades, enterprise IT functions have enjoyed continued success in projects using agile development methods. However, the lack of ample empirical research on achieving portfolio level agility can potentially inhibit their ability to effectively govern IT investments while scaling agile practices to derive more significant benefits. This study examines the impact of agile delivery efforts on project portfolio management at the enterprise level and identifies approaches adopted to foster agility in portfolio practices. We conducted a systematic literature review to explore existing scientific knowledge around agile methods and portfolio management in an enterprise IT context. An analysis of the 21 primary studies found relevant to this research identified six portfolio management aspects impacted by agile delivery practices and a variety of approaches adopted to support them. While these identified portfolio management aspects guide practitioners on areas to focus on while scaling agile efforts across an enterprise, the specific practices/approaches observed present opportunities to consider within their respective organizational contexts. Portfolio processes need an exploratory focus to sense environmental change to support agility, utilize a systems-thinking approach for a holistic view of potential interactions within and across portfolio components, and consider the effect of existing organizational processes to support portfolio agility. This study contributes to academic knowledge by synthesizing current knowledge on how portfolio management contributes to IT agility while incorporating agile delivery efforts and by identifying a set of future research directions in this space.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLean and Agile Software Development
Subtitle of host publication5th International Conference, LASD 2021
EditorsAdam Przybyłek, Jakub Miler, Alexander Poth, Andreas Riel
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-67084-9
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-67083-2
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Event5th International Conference on Lean and Agile Software Development: LASD 2021 - Online, Poland
Duration: 23 Jan 202123 Jan 2021
Conference number: 5


Conference5th International Conference on Lean and Agile Software Development
Internet address


  • Agile methods
  • IT agility
  • Portfolio management
  • Systematic literature review


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