Seeds grow flowers!

Taking a very binary view of why people expend the effort to create value chain, value streams, and/or process maps, there are two reasons for mapping. The first is to generate a cost advantage by increasing efficiency. The second is to generate product differentiation. Each reason requires information about customers, how raw materials are transformed, and how the product is delivered.  The analysis and decision based on the maps are very different. Seed questions are a useful gathering data in a repeatable manner. Here are some sample mapping seed questions: (more…)



Any discussion of planning can lead you to believe that the plan is the end rather than the means to that end. Not true. We plan for many reasons.

  1. We plan so that we visualize attaining a goal.
  2. We plan so that we anticipate the path toward the goal.
  3. We plan together so we create a common vision.
  4. We plan just enough so that change does not destroy us.
  5. We plan so that others can be confident in us.
  6. We plan so that we can motivate each other.
  7. We plan so the we can hold each other accountable.
  8. We plan so that we can understand our capacity to deliver.
  9. We plan so we can talk about what we can deliver.
  10. We plan because the perception of random action generally causes panic in the management ranks.

Sprint planning is a tool to help Agile teams develop a map forward towards the real goal of software development – the delivery of value. We have to refine that map as we gain experience and learn every daily, every sprint and every release.

4-13 2013 Lost and Confused

Why do some projects seem to have a laser-like focus on what they will deliver?  Because they have spent the time and effort necessary to develop and refine the goals for the product. Without a crisp understanding of the business goals each project intends to deliver, it is easy to wander aimlessly.  Business goals and values are tools that the product owner can use to rally and guide a project team.  Goals and values act as the central metaphor by providing a map for the so that it does not wander aimlessly through a maze of risks and issues.

You Are Here

A Map Isn’t Sufficient

In those circumstances that you need or want to know where you are, a map and a sense of position are highly useful. The sense of position helps you orient the map to let you know what is around.  Without a sense of position we have to rely on a designer to tell us where we are and whomever mounts the map to position it correctly.

Just having a map does not help if you don’t  know where  you are and the direction you are heading. That might be why we have apps for maps. The smart phone knows all! Unfortunately, we don’t have an app to monitor process improvement that tells us where we are and the direction we are heading.  We have to read the map the old fashioned way or accept an artists rendition of “you are here.”