We continue from Remember Value Stream Mapping and drill into the content of Project to Product. With every chapter I read, the significance of the Project to Product book and the Flow Framework™ appears. After reading about the technical revolution, the Age of Software & Digital, and the uncertainty around the next turning point, I was intrigued by the closing statement “we can make our organisations competitive.”
The Age of Software / From Project to Product
The first part of the book focuses on three chapters: The Age of Software, from Project to Product, and an introduction to the Flow Framework™, a new framework created by the author Mik Kersten, CEO of Tasktop.
Here are the key takeaways I took from the first two chapters:
- The story of Boeing putting all the heads of engineering on the 777 “fly by wire” test flight really emphasised the need to understand and align engineering with business implications. I re-read that section a few times and even Googled on the Boeing 777. If you read An Analysis of the Boeing 777 Fly-By-Wire System, the complexity of the innovation and the commitment by engineering becomes apparent. I always said that “software engineers would not fly on a plane they build the way they write software” … I stand corrected by Boeing (More on this story in Mik’s article “Project to Product, Software, And Safety, Getting In The Same Plane” – Ed)
- I always thought that the Windows codebase, with sixty million lines of code, was ginormous. However, the 100 million lines many of us rely on when driving our cars, is far bigger and scarier. I am genuinely happy that our “boys’ car” is a classic Jeep Wrangler, based on the post-war Golden Age, not the age of software with million lines of code 😊
- “To avoid the pitfalls of local optimisation, focus on the end-to-end value stream”(Mik Kersten). In Remember Value Stream Mapping I mentioned that we mapped our value stream, but the initiative fizzled out. It appears that we fell into this pitfall.
- “Engineering/IT and the business must be connected” (Mik Kersten). By focusing only on the engineering aspects, we did not align the WHAT and WHY from business, with the HOW from engineering – a root cause why our value stream initiative energy faded over time.
- Allocating work (features) to teams instead of people to work, increases commitment, ownership, velocity, and morale. The Ranger program is a wonderful supporting use case for this.
- Allocating people to multiple value streams results in a dramatic reduction of productivity and passion. The Ranger program has experienced this, compounded by the part-time and volunteer-based teams.
The first glimpse of the Flow Framework™
The introduction of the Flow Framework™ was the chapter I looked forward to and enjoyed the most. It promises to address the pivotal challenge to crack open the engineering and business black boxes, define a common language bridging the gap between business and technology, and visualise the flow of business value to our customers. The Flow Framework™ is based on four flow items, which are a unit of business value pulled by a stakeholder through a product’s value stream – a very Lean Thinking mindset. Feature delivers new business value, defect delivers quality, risk delivers security, governance, and compliance, and debt removes impediments from future deliveries.
As said in the book, the Flow Framework™ will allow you to:
- See the end-to-end flow of business value in real-time
- Instantly spot bottlenecks and use them to prioritise investment
- Hypothesis test based on real-time data from every value stream
- Re-architect your organization around maximising flow
In the next blog, we will review Part 2 of the book – Value Stream Metrics.
This blog was originally posted on Willy-Peter Schaub’s website on 22nd October 2018.The Flow Framework™ is a framework created by Mik Kersten, CEO of Tasktop Technologies Incorporated (“Tasktop”). The Flow Framework™ diagrams, images, graphics and other materials referenced herein in relation to the Flow Framework™ is protected by copyright laws and may not be copied, modified or distributed without the express written permission of Tasktop.Tasktop® and the Flow Framework™ are trademarks of Tasktop Technologies Incorporated.