From Project to Product
What’s your measure for the end-to-end flow of customer value you gain from software? More to the point, do you really have one?
The future is flow...
To compete in the Golden Age, enterprises whose software generates an ever-increasing share of value need to shift away from economies of scale to economies of flow. They must focus on the end-to-end flow of customer value derived from ‘products' rather than the activity of delivering ‘IT projects’. The practices, frameworks, metrics and tools are now in place to accelerate this shift. We can help you make it.
Value Stream Management – the emerging practice
Transitioning from short-term, project-oriented IT to a product-focused organisation requires enterprises to organise around Value Streams and adopt the emerging practice of Value Stream Management (VSM). VSM helps identify bottlenecks, take action to remove them and dramatically accelerate the flow of value to your customers by:
- Shortening time-to-market
- Increasing throughput
- Improving product quality
- Optimising for business outcomes
- Creating more engaged, happier teams
VSM – The Quiet Revolution
Many of the world’s leading enterprises are rapidly adopting VSM and organising around Value Streams. We strongly believe that the adoption of VSM will be as big a revolution as the adoption of Agile and DevOps. Find out why.
Organising around Value Streams
Adopting VSM shifts an enterprise's thinking towards organising around Value Streams – the end-to-end set of activities performed to deliver value to a customer and which includes every contributor, process, activity and tool related to the delivery. We can help you identify your streams by mapping and modelling these elements. Each Value Stream is then considered as a ‘product’ in its own right – a product in which people from across technology and the wider business are connected, and who work to improve the flow of value that comes from it.
A new, common language focused on value
The concept of Value Streams is not new but, until recently, there wasn’t a common language that created a shared business-wide understanding of flow. In 2018, Dr. Mik Kersten solved this challenge by developing the Flow Framework® and Flow Metrics – described in his best-selling book Project to Product. He founded a business called Tasktop to develop the VSM tool platform to make the metrics visible to users across the enterprise.
The Flow Framework®
The Flow Framework® is a structured, prescriptive approach to Value Stream Management in software delivery organisations. It identifies where work is flowing in your product Value Streams and where it’s slowing down so that you can decide how to address those bottlenecks.
The Framework is based on Flow Metrics and the Metrics are based on the end-to-end flow of artefacts through the Value Stream…
The Flow Metrics
‘How much value did we deliver?’ – Flow Velocity measures the throughput of artefacts. When considered in the context of other metrics, Flow Velocity becomes very powerful.
‘Where are the bottlenecks?’ – Flow Efficiency measures the 'active' time spent on a Flow Item out of the total Flow Time. This metric reveals much about ‘end-to-end’ delivery of value and makes it easy to see things that can be improved.
‘How fast did we deliver value?’ – Flow Time measures the time from which a piece of work started to its completion. This metric provides data to understand lead times and cycle times.
‘Is demand overwhelming capacity?’ – Flow Load measures the amount of work in progress, how much more can be accommodated and the impacts on the Value Stream (and network of Value Streams).
Flow Distribution – Four 'types of work'
‘Are priorities in line with business objectives?' – Flow Distribution measures and compares type-specific bottlenecks according to four types of work:
Making the metrics visible – Tasktop VSM Platform
The Tasktop VSM Platform (developed by Tasktop) delivers a unified and universal way of understanding and communicating Flow Metrics within Value Streams. The Platform consist of two elements – Tasktop Hub and Tasktop Viz.
Plugs into and connects your existing toolchain, delivering near real-time, bi-directional synchronisation of data across your tools. Tasktop Hub maps tools to a central domain model, not each other, allowing new tools to be quickly integrated without any corruption to the model.
Extracts the relevant data subset from each tool and abstracts it into clear, consistent and actionable data. Viz constructs dashboards from the combined work of all Value Stream contributors, including product managers, architects, UX designers, developers, testers, release managers, support teams and operations. There are five feature sets in Tasktop Viz:
- Portfolio Insights
Visibility into Portfolio vital signs and oversee improvements (see below for more detail)
- Flow Metrics
Measure business value of software delivery and product health
- Flow Insights
Understand the problems hindering current performance
- Bottleneck Analysis
Identify what’s really slowing down delivery and how to address it
- Business Results
Measure business goals against IT investment and make data-driven adjustments
A menu for executive action
Tasktop Viz offers a first-of-its-kind, Portfolio Insights Dashboard that breaks down Value Stream silos to provide the real-time insights into IT’s business-wide impact on value. Metrics and analytics generated at the individual product Value Stream level are consolidated to the Portfolio level, providing executives with insights covering:
- Progress made in the shift from project to product-based IT
- Enterprise’s ability to respond rapidly to the market
- Flow of customer value through end-to end Value Streams and actions to improve it
- Business processes capable of acceleration, namely:
- Feature to cash
- Defect to resolution
- Risk to mitigation
- Debt to pay off
- The value-creation and value-protection areas currently lacking appropriate investment – prioritising the right set of features to achieve tangible business goals
- Agile improvement – identifying where high workloads are straining resource capacity and diminishing the return from transformation efforts. These insights reveal:
- Where products are biting off more work than they can complete, causing work-in-progress to grow stale and time-to-market to increase
- When products will realistically have capacity for new work, based on their current workloads
- Which business processes can anticipate longer Flow Times
- Product management improvement – identifying how new product management skills might be cultivated within existing staff and shifting the focus from short-term gains to long-term value. These insights show products that are experiencing:
- Low-feature delivery, indicating a slowdown in new capabilities necessary to drive business growth
- High-defect distribution, where quality issues are endangering customer satisfaction
- Increased exposure to fines and breaches, by neglecting risk
- Diminished capability to accelerate innovation in the long-run, by neglecting debt
Lean Portfolio Management (LPM) and VSM. Made for each other
The Tasktop Viz Portfolio Insights Dashboard is a first-of-its kind product feature that will act as a catalyst for the wider adoption of LPM. The Portfolio-level insights immediately bring to focus the value of LPM. VSM and LPM practices work together to better understand product architectures, mapping of Value Streams, making the right product investment decisions and focusing on flow to improve ROI.
Transformative, high-level benefits
- Businesses can practise Value Stream Management at scale, cultivating and improving the IT and business relationship by bridging the gap between software delivery and business outcomes
- ‘Integrated understanding’ between technical leaders (who understand the software development process and toolchain) and business leaders (who understand business outcomes and investment strategies)
- Shift perceptions of IT being seen as a cost centre to a profit centre because of the emphasis on business impact and long-term value
- Executives focus on driving systemic improvements rather than local optimisations, with a high degree of confidence that lurking problems aren’t hidden by averages that fail to take into account each individual product Value Stream
- Executives can quickly identify the exemplary Value Streams that can be harnessed to mentor others
- Software teams become more highly engaged as they focus on releasing products that have the greatest impact on the business, while executives are able to focus on driving better business strategies
Project to Product – Practical insights
We recently hosted an executive round table with Dr. Mik Kersten and leading Lean Portfolio Management expert Eric Willeke. They shared their experiences of shifting from Project to Product with senior executives of many leading NZ enterprises. Here’s what they learnt...
Tasktop VS Partner for New Zealand and Australia
We believe that the Flow Framework® and Flow Metrics are game-changing developments which will transform Value Stream Management into a practice capable of shifting organisations to economies of flow.
We’ve invested time to understand the deep value that Tasktop’s world-leading VSM Platform can add to organisations* and we are now a fully-fledged Tasktop Value Stream Partner for New Zealand and Australia.
Our VSM consultants are already delivering expert VSM advisory, consulting, training, coaching and licensing of the Tasktop VSM Platform to leading New Zealand enterprises. We’d love to help you too and we have a unique offer scaled for the New Zealand and Australian markets…
A world first – the Tasktop HYPR Catalyst Package
We’ve worked with Tasktop to create the Tasktop HYPR ‘Catalyst’ Package. It’s for New Zealand and Australian enterprises with up to 100 authorised users and is unique to HYPR. (The standard Tasktop Catalyst I Package is for up to 300 users). The HYPR Catalyst Package puts Tasktop’s powerful VSM Platform in reach of many more businesses. Please contact us for details about this special package and/or the Standard Catalyst packages.
Tasktop – proven results worldwide
Tasktop is a product business that’s fast becoming a category-defining leader. The Tasktop VSM Platform is used worldwide by leading enterprises, including half of the Fortune 100. It has enabled some of the largest and most successful digital transformations for customers including BMW, CGI, E*Trade and T-Mobile.
In March 2021 the Forrester Consulting Total Economic Impact™ Study, showed organisations using the Platform realised an average return on investment (ROI) of 640% over a three-year period. Forrester, along with other research companies (Gartner and GigaOm), identify Tasktop as a VSM Platform leader.
For the full story...
Buy Dr. Mik Kersten’s best-selling book Project to Product – How to Survive and Thrive in the Age of Digital Disruption with the Flow Framework. Gene Kim wrote of it “The mark of a great book is that it makes obvious what is wrong with the old worldview and replaces it with one that is simultaneously simpler and yet presents a better model of reality.”
We’re predicting a big future for Flow and VSM. Find out why in our primer – The Quiet Revolution.
For practical insights...
Read real-world experiences of shifting from Project to Product.
For a primer on Flow Metrics...
'Flow Metrics: A Business Leader's Guide to Measuring What Matters in Software Delivery'.
For the full Tasktop VSM Platform picture...
Tasktop’s comprehensive website provides extensive information about the VSM Platform, as well as dozens of case studies, webinars and white papers.
For resources about the VSM revolution
From a movement to a revolution, VSM will become the next new normal management practice. Keep track of its progress.
Tasktop is revolutionising Value Stream Management with a platform that helps enterprises ‘see through the black box’ of software delivery, align IT initiatives with business goals and accelerate flow. As trained Tasktop partners, we’re ready to help you see value in a whole new way.