According to Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, there are 8 key components of the Flow State:
Clear Goals – There is great inner clarity and you know what needs to be done
Strong Concentration and Focused Attention – You are completely involved in what you’re doing.
A loss of the Feeling or Self-Consciousness – A feeling of going beyond your comfort zone.
Distorted sense of Time – You lose track of time and you’re completely focused on the present moment.
Immediate Feedback – You get an immediate result on how well you’re doing.
The balance between skill level and Challenge – You know that the activity is feasible, that you have the needed skills to complete the task successfully.
Personal Control over the Situation – There’s an essential motivation and whatever produces flow becomes its own reward.
Absorption - You lose your sense of self and all of your worries and concerns drift away.
All of these components are enabled by a well-functioning value stream that marries the challenge of the work being performed with the capabilities of individuals and the team delivering.
Personal flow enables a sense of joy when the challenge you’re tackling and the skill you possess are well matched. Not too easy, not too hard. You feel a steady sense of progress through continuous feedback.
When we aim to improve personal flow, our objectives are:
- Maximize engagement
- Maximize performance
It’s important to consider and balance both collective and personal flow to maximize outcomes. Too much personal flow, and a team could be derailed by an individual contributor. Too much collective flow, and personal meaning and diversity could be lost in the group.
A well-architected value stream can create a high degree of collective flow that allows individuals to fall into a personal flow state. This can happen many ways; by minimizing interruptions and friction, allowing contributors to utilize their strongest skills, minimizing repetitive, boring tasks, providing feedback on performance, and so-forth. Below are 8 key components of getting into a flow state that can be enabled by a well-architected value stream.