How do you get from a desired outcome to a target value stream?
If we take a desired outcome like: "Release 2x faster", it's easy to target the release value stream for the product in question.
- Release what? We want to release our mobile app in half the time.
- Why do we want to release twice as often? This may be obvious to you but it's safe to assume it's not obvious to everyone you need involved. Do you want faster feedback from customers? Why else?
- What obstacles are in the way? Testing takes a long time, we need approvals from 3 different departments.
- What investigations can we do? We could send out a survey (which may raise alarm bells depending on the culture). We could approach our director to ask for support. We could try to map the existing value stream.
Bonus: If you have time or interest, you can enhance an Outcome Map with additional detail by digging deeper
- How will we measure progress? The first stream will be a big milestone. Having all the streams in a single portfolio is another (maybe aim for 10 a week). Assigning owners for each stream is huge. Having each team assigned to a stream is another big one. Creating a living visual reference would be great as well.
- What methods will we use to make progress? Should we collect survey data and document it in a wiki? Create a visual representation? Will it be maintained by the owners?
Having a well understood outcome helps us focus on a specific value stream, because there's a value stream involved in the delivery of that outcome.
There's a value stream behind every outcome.
Once we know the outcome, we can identify the customer involved, and work backwards to the start of the stream.
By starting with the clarity of the Outcome Map, the team is heading in one direction together. Having a map makes it easy to communicate within and beyond the team.
What do teams say after mapping?: "We're all on the same page and aware of what may lie ahead. We revealed that our regulatory requirements will demand a careful mitigation strategy, and our lack of test automation is a sore spot."
That's a lot more clarity than starting from scratch.
In our case, after setting the target of releasing 2x faster, and highlighting has pointed us to examine all of the requirements for releasing our software, and naturally the software development and delivery stream for that product. We can now map the value stream with a focus on improving velocity while keeping quality as a priority.
Outcome Mapping is
Let's talk about your next target outcome, or the one you're struggling with now