How much of this looks familiar to you?

Common effects (not sources!) of friction
Common effects (not sources!) of friction

If you're working in a software or product delivery team,  you probably recognize quite a few of these symptoms, but what are the causes, and how do we get to better?

It starts from becoming clear on what today looks like, along with what better looks like. Everything could always be better, but what's going to make the most positive impact, with the least amount of effort? What's holding us back from getting there today?

To move towards flow and away from friction it takes focus. This is why the Theory of Constraints (TOC) is still the king of continuous improvement models. By mapping the value stream and identifying the most critical source of friction, we can focus on it and improve it. To do that, we have to be able to see, measure, target, and isolate the biggest impacts on flow. That starts by focusing on our goal, so we can make sure we're all seeing the same flow, and have a model for understanding what's between the current flow and our desired outcome.

Let's say we'd rather be here:

Collaborative Flow
Collaborative Flow

Everyone wants to get to automation, but like our symptoms of friction, automation is just a side effect of many other pieces falling into place. 

It all starts with clarity and alignment around a desired outcome, and flows from there through effective collaboration across the value stream.

To find out how to get moving in the right direction, check out my article on Outcome Mapping and the free Flow Engineering ebook and course series