Use Roadmaps (Portfolio Items)

In CA Agile Central, we represent a specific initiative or feature using a portfolio item . You can use portfolio items to create higher-level roadmaps. 

If you need assistance in setting up CA Agile Central Portfolio Manager, consider investing in CA Agile Central onsite services.

CA Agile Central Portfolio Manager Overview (Video)

CA Agile Central
Portfolio Manager Overview
10 Min

Plan for Portfolio Management

Before you do any portfolio management in CA Agile Central, 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 CA Agile Central.

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. See this blog for more information.

For example, internally at CA Agile Central, 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.

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 CA Agile Central may involve redesigning all or part of your portfolio management process to emphasize value delivery, strategic alignment, and smart steering. CA Agile Central coaches can help you implement these process changes and can help you facilitate your portfolio planning and steering events. CA Agile Central's coaches can guide you in this process and helps you reflect it in CA Agile Central Portfolio Manager. Contact your sales representative for details.

Set Up CA Agile Central With Your Administrator

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

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, CA Agile Central 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 to bring to market over a longer period of time. The lower types of the hierarchy represent more discrete items of market value.

PI type strategy and execution

The two default portfolio items types are Initiative and Feature. You can create additional types but we recommend no more than three types.

The lowest level always represents what fits in a delivery timebox ( release ). If you follow the Scaled Agile Framework, that level is Feature. If you follow other scaled agile processes, you can rename this level to fit your taxonomy.

If delivering a marketable value typically takes less than a development release in your organization, then we recommend keeping the default two levels of portfolio items.

If delivering a marketable value typically takes longer than a development release in your organization, or if you want the option of accelerating marketable value by having multiple teams work on delivering the market value within a delivery timebox, then you want to add a third portfolio item type, and your portfolio item hierarchy would look something like:

  • Initiative
  • Marketable Feature (or Minimal Viable Feature, or Minimal Marketable Feature)
  • Feature

In that case, the level above the Feature level tracks marketable features may take several releases to deliver market value, each release implementing pieces of marketable features.

See Manage Roadmaps for details on setting up this field.

Investment Category

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.

Preliminary Estimate

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. CA Agile Central 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.

Value and Risk Score

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 CA Agile Central 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 CA Agile Central 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 CA Agile Central.

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.

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

Adopt Portfolio Kanbans

Portfolio Kanbans visualize the value creation workflow at the Feature level, and track your governance and investment planning at higher levels. The Kanban displays the rank and progress of portfolio items, each column mapping to one of the portfolio item State values. You can also add the Portfolio Kanban 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 Portfolio 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

  • Under the Portfolio tab, or add to your dashboard
  • 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

  • Under the Portfolio 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

Portfolio Hierarchy app
  • 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 List App

Custom List app
  • 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


Need more help? The CA Agile Central Community is your one-stop shop for self-service and support. To submit feedback or cases to CA Agile Central Support, find answers, and collaborate with others, please join us in the CA Agile Central Community.