Discretionary Work

Discretionary Work - This term describes all of the work that can be prioritized on a backlog. In some organizations, this type of work can be called "enhancement;" however, this term is too confining.

Discretionary Work can include enhancements, but it can also include some work that you might traditionally think of as support-related.

The key to "discretionary" work is that it is subject to prioritization, and by implication, if the priority is not high enough, the work can be delayed until later.

In fact, you may have the resources to complete the work immediately. However, the question is whether the work can be subject to prioritization. If it is too critical to be prioritized - that is, if it must be performed now - then it would fall into the "support" category.

From a portfolio perspective, you don't want to be in a position where you are subjecting each discretionary request to the same level of scrutiny that projects face.

There are simply too many enhancements, they are too small, and they cannot necessarily be planned ahead of time in the Business Planning Process.

However, you do want to account for discretionary work in your portfolio.

Therefore, you can establish a blanket work budget for discretionary activities, and you can include the work at a summary level in the portfolio.

In the IT organization, you could create one large budget to cover all discretionary work from all the client organizations, or you can establish a discretionary budget for each client organization.

For instance, you can designate budgets for "Finance discretionary," "Marketing discretionary," "IT discretionary," etc.

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