What's affecting us from inside the Value Stream?
In the example, you can see how feature delivery is being affected by your two primary bottlenecks which are dependent on validation and test automation, how they are connected to external tooling and infrastructure, and a gap in capabilities. By combining the 4 Key Maps, you can trace a clear path from desired outcome to actionable next steps. In fact, this method will work for any situation, not just identifying how to improve your performance for technical teams, but any process or outcome you want to address.
"We can now see how contributions within the team are affecting our most critical constraints and our ability to address dependencies. If we can create a playbook to fix the simplest 80% of our build failures, we could resolve issues quickly within the team. We've identified a lead and backup to focus on building out test automation, and highlighted necessary support and training."
Armed with these compasses and maps, the team has a clear direction, knowledge of the landscape between their position and destination, and supporting metrics to keep them on track. They can easily tackle a prioritized set of initiatives aligned to their true north. They have velocity and quality metrics to inform them when something is pulling them in the wrong direction. They can see the path to success, which they have confidently defined to avoid obstacles and mitigate challenges. They can clearly and constructively collaborate along the way with everyone involved or affected.
"We can now see a clear path to success, together. Everyone from individual contributors to leadership can share the same view and alignment. We went from 8 different ideas of where to focus to 2 clear, prioritized opportunities. We know exactly what to do next, and can act safely in the knowledge that our compasses and maps will keep us on track. We can craft data-driven hypotheses that drive rapid, measurable experiments. We can periodically measure against our baseline to see, share and celebrate progress."
You may have noticed by now that the focus of these efforts is not merely DevOps or software delivery performance, but value stream performance. Well beyond the boundaries of software development and delivery, value streams are the true engines of value in every organization. They encompass every role, department, function, capability, and purpose throughout your company. This means that the skills you develop to improve value stream performance can be leveraged in any scenario where performance is constrained, and targeted improvements can have massive impacts throughout your organization. Value Stream Thinking and these techniques can empower you to drive powerful change.