Book cover: Tame your Work Flow

Tame your Work Flow

Chapter 15 of Tame your Work Flow, introduces the concept of a MOVE, which stands for Minimal Outcome-Value Effort. Steve and Daniel use the construct to help define an atomic level of value delivery that is both minimalistic and sufficient. MOVE, while not replacing the myriad Mxx acronyms (e.g. minimal viable product or minimal marketable product), provides a mental model for defining items in your portfolio backlog that is focused on throughput accounting.

At a macro level, a MOVE takes into account four co-existing perspectives:

  • A unit of stakeholder value – MOVEs recognize that the term stakeholder can cover many people or groups that have an interest in the product or service.
  • A unit of financial throughput  – While this is a measure of the flow of money, in some organizations (non-profits) the unit of value might be something else.
  • A unit of costing and reporting – This aspect reflects the interface of the TameFlow and Throughput approaches with standard cost accounting needs of organizations.
  • A unit of work and delivery – The unit of work that is delivered (e.g. feature, function, or service).

The model provides a way of thinking about the movement of defined pieces of work through the value stream of an organization. A MOVE is “just” small enough so that it creates and delivers value to its stakeholders. The framework improves on most of the portfolio approaches through the recognition of the tension between trying to maximize outcomes and values and while minimizing cost and use of resources (every organization has some limitation of funds so can’t do everything). The authors note (on page 242) that the target-scope defined by this tension between opposing forces “is defined in economic terms because it explicitly accounts for the preservation of the business’s capital. This means that in any scope definition activity, the financial side of the business should always be involved.”

The TameFlow approach views a MOVE as an atomic unit of value. MOVEs are by definition, minimal which means reducing scope will reduce the value of the work. Given this logic, if something is eliminated, why was it in the MOVE to begin with? The authors make a point to draw a distinction between a MOVE and a fixed-scope piece of work. Stating, “While we prefer not to change the scope of a MOVE, it is easy to do if necessary.”

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Week 1: Logistics and Front Matter

Week 2: Prologue (The Story of Herbie) –

Week 3: Explicit Mental Models 

Week 4: Flow Efficiency, Little’s Law and Economic Impact 

Week 5: Flawed Mental Models  

Week 6: Where To Focus Improvement Efforts 

Week 7: Introduction to Throughput Accounting and Culture 

Week 8: Accounting F(r)iction and  Show Me the Money 

Week 9: Constraints in the Work Flow and in the Work Process 

Week 10: Understanding PEST Environments and Finding the Constraint in PEST Environments 

Week 11: Drum-Buffer-Rope Scheduling 

Week 12: Portfolio Prioritization and Selection in PEST Environments 

Week 13: Flow Efficiency, DBR, and TameFlow Kanban Boards