At Tasktop, our mission is to help enterprises and governments catalyze the shift from Project to Product, enabling them to innovate, survive and thrive in the Age of Software. Today’s launch of Tasktop Viz is a big landmark on that journey, allowing us to help many more organizations accelerate their mastery of software at scale with the Flow Framework™.
Throughout my career, the software development innovations that I admired most have provided both a new set of ideas as well as a tool-based solution to accelerate the value of applying those ideas to practice. My first exposure to how profound this combination can be was as a computer science undergrad attending my first conference, OOPSLA ’98. I watched David Intersimone give an amazing demo of JBuilder at Borland’s booth. I was blown away by the graphical user interface designer, which turned hours of my coding controls into a few short drag-and-drop gestures. I had glimpsed the future of how user interfaces would be created, and had a working solution on my laptop that afternoon, which I subsequently built countless Java apps with. The following day I had the opportunity to be in a workshop breakout group with the legendary Grady Booch, who not only showed me the methodology that he had co-created with UML, but also amazed me with a demo of his Rational Rose product, which I immediately got a license for and used incessantly thereafter. The power of innovations in how software is built, packaged into new kinds of tools, came to define the rest of my career.
With Project to Product, my goal was to put a new approach out there for all to adopt freely to help get our industry through the Turning Point. As with my favorite open source products and contributions, I made the Flow Framework™ free for both community and commercial use (CC BY-ND). But I knew that for many organizations, especially the very large ones, a set of ideas and a framework were not enough. A product-based solution is needed to scale the benefits to thousands and tens of thousands of staff. This enables the deployment and adoption to then drive the data to feedback into the evolution of the ideas and framework, creating a virtuous cycle.
I’m thrilled to announce the next major step on this journey. Over the past nine months, we have been deploying Tasktop Viz at Fortune 100 customers and seeing amazing results. Months, sometimes years, of failure to create meaningful end-to-end metrics have been remedied almost immediately. The average time from contract close to Flow Metrics populating Tasktop Viz dashboards has been 12 days, which has surprised even our own teams who are used to longer time-to-value cycles when working with such large organizations. This remarkable result comes from leveraging over a decade of Tasktop building Agile, DevOps, PPM and ITSM integrations that enable us to measure value streams end-to-end. In addition, we have spent the ten years developing value stream integration and visibility modeling tools, ensuring teams can easily and accurately model their product value streams, tools and the unique ways in which they work. We have learned that visibility for leaders only works if it is actionable and empowering for teams.
Two weeks ago I met with the head of technology for a large bank who has been dealing with thousands of his China-based IT staff working remotely due to COVID-19. He surprised me by stating how much he wished he had deployed Tasktop Viz in the fall so that they would have had a baseline of Flow Metrics before and after the transition. He sensed that there were flow issues for developers, likely caused by overly taxed VPNs and other infrastructure challenges. Rather than triangulating from anecdotal complaints, he wanted a systemic sense of what the impact of those might be on flow. He was also curious whether the reduced meeting load was actually resulting in productivity benefits for his teams. He realized that if the baseline Flow Metrics from the last quarter were already in place, he could further support improvements for his thousands of developers and other specialists, both during this challenging period and beyond.
In his seminal book Product Development Flow, the luminary Donald Reinertsen—an upcoming guest on my Project to Product podcast—taught the industry how important managing the cost of delay is. Organizations are implementing Agile and DevOps initiatives in order to address the cost of delay for feature delivery. But you cannot improve what you cannot measure. And if you can’t measure end-to-end Flow Metrics for your value streams, you are either investing or making reductions blindly. Worse yet, if you can’t trust the data, because it came from a data swamp filled with inconsistencies, you’re back to the failure mode of proxy metrics. And this brings us to a much more dire cost of delay: The cost of not having reliable, scalable and end-to-end Flow Metrics for neither your product value streams nor your entire transformation. Whether for managing a software portfolio during growth times, or during times of cost-reduction, you cannot manage what you cannot measure. And the cost of delay for making data-driven decisions at times like this is devastating.
This is why we have put so much effort into building Tasktop Viz over the years, on top of an existing value stream integration platform that was 10 years in the making. And the most exciting part is that we are now ready to share the impacts from the first set of limited availability Tasktop Viz deployments. These stories are from organizations that are now already able to make data and business value decisions in their software portfolios based on Flow Metrics. The rate of learnings and business outcomes from those decisions has far exceeded my expectations. I will be sharing these flow diagnostics stories together with technology leaders at customers including T-Mobile and Cubic, in a series of upcoming webinars, so stay posted!
Join me on Wednesday March 18 as I co-host a webinar with Bryan Fleming—SVP, Technology at T-Mobile—to expand on how the telecommunications giant is harnessing the Flow Framework and Tasktop Viz for data-driven continuous improvement to achieve innovation velocity.
The following week on Thursday March 26, Nicole Bryan, VP Product Development, and Naomi Lurie, Sr Director of Product Marketing will be sharing real-life stories from enterprises using Tasktop Viz to make the shift to product and best practices on how to get started gaining insights within days.
Regardless of where you are on your journey from project to product, Tasktop Viz will help you baseline where you are today, and—perhaps more importantly—help you identify the right next steps to make the journey as fast and as successful as possible. Contact us today to learn more.