Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Soup to Nuts - Harnessing Lean to break through the local optimisation

Initial Note on presentation title
What does Soup to Nuts means?
"Soup to nuts" is an American English idiom conveying the meaning of "from beginning to end". It is derived from the description of a full course dinner, in which courses progress from soup to a dessert of nuts. (see for more details)

Presentation Lead-in
- The audience was asked "why we (typically IT dept.) develop software?"
- A guy answered "To change the world"...
- "but how asked the presenter again?"... "By developing Value delivered to delighted users".

Presentation slides here.

Introduction on value-driven principles
Our software development actions should be rooted in values (Values lead to Beliefs which lead to Behaviors and eventually to Actions)

The presenter went through many stories he lived as a consultant leading change in big companies and concluded in the end IT departments are not and should not be solely turned toward themselves and wait for job to do but be involved in the why it is actually being requested. We should adopt practices only when they eventually bring real values to our companies (why does the company exists? To do what? etc.). The whole difference is between "do that" vs. "I do that for this reason" - knowing the reason will help the proceeding with the requested change.

Value Statement and Value Assertions as tools
He then suggested that we develop a Value Statement that should answer the why portion of any prescribed change and to then develop the Value Assertions. The idea is to validate the measurable (automatically or not) portion of the value statement (He introduced the concept of Value Tests as tests against the market, the stakeholders - this is done now, but generally outside of IT completely). The bad news is that the toolset for value assertion/feedback is not good but if we find a way to deliver smaller increment of value and measure it, we get the benefits (similar to what Facebook seems to be doing with what they call experiments);
The good news: seeing delivered value (aka progress) around us motivates us (even if it is in another team) - this can be a key to motivate teams.

Suggested value-related modifications to the Agile manifesto stating popular values and principles
It seems that the current agile manifesto ( is confusing MEANS with the END - we would need to add value into it

Modified element
- delivered value software over... working software over comprehensive documentation

New elements to be added to the manifesto to take value into account
- Technology as a Value Engine, not a Cost Center
- Appreciate and capture diverse stakeholder values
- Do the simplest thing that deliver value (Minimum Valuable Product)

We should be more Value-Driven in everything we do (track it, measure it, etc.). Why is Apple successful? Could it be because it is essentially value-driven and not technology driven?IT (software development departments) should stop seing itself as a slave of the business but as an important part of the business instead that can use technonlogy to deliver business value... a big change!

1 comment:

  1. I like your conclusion ...

    This is why we put so much effort (and should continue to do so ...) on the User Centric approach when defining the platform services.

    Should always deliver value to the users. This paradigm is very difficult to change in an engineering world!


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