From Value delivery

The term “Waterfall” highlights a problem, not a method, for software delivery

When the “Waterfall” diagram was first drawn, it was one engineer’s attempt to point out why the current way of delivering software was flawed. In his 1970 paper MANAGING THE DEVELOPMENT OF LARGE SOFTWARE SYSTEMS, Dr. Winston Royce only drew the “Waterfall” to explain the problem and then give some ideas on how to fix it. His basic premise being, with a gated approach, once you move downstream it’s hard to return upstream. And the more you try to do before each gate, the harder this gets. Royce goes on to redraw the diagram to show a number of feedback loops which he felt were necessary to incorporate. As new information is…

Standards and the definition of done

Without standards there can be no kaizen, Taiichi Ohno. Kaizen is a Japanese word that we can translate as “change for the better”. It’s widely interpreted as meaning “continuous improvement” when referring to process or flow. As Taiichi Ohno (father of the Toyota Production System or TPS) highlights, to improve, you first need to have a baseline standard. From the TPS perspective, standards and the improvement of said standards, relate to two aspects: Process – the work carried out at a particular step on the production line. Flow – the overall flow through the production line from end-to-end. So, if we’re to translate this to cross-functional product teams, our team can determine…

Negative metrics – why you shouldn’t focus on them

What is a negative metric? Well, a metric is something that you measure in order to give you an idea of how something is performing. A negative metric is a performance indicator that tells you if something is going badly, but it doesn’t tell you when that same something is necessarily going well. For example, velocity. If velocity is low, or fluctuating between iterations, this is usually a sign that something isn’t going well. However if velocity is normal there is no guarantee that the team is delivering value. We know that they are working, but that is all we know. If we want to be sure that they are delivering value,…