We set out to provide a step-by-step method to help mid-level managers succeed in managing and improving value streams across their organization. Value stream management is a practice of making visible the activities that go into creating value. It’s a combination of people, process, and technology. We aim to bring insights about the often neglected people and process aspects to you as guidance you can put into practice, right away.
Invisibility is not a software superpower
Software is invisible. You can’t see it as it’s being made, and you can’t see all of the various handoffs and issues along the way. And while everyone recognizes the value of having an application that can help you in your work, value is surprisingly hard to nail down. Value is like Schrödinger’s cat - the value of something is never defined precisely until it’s measured in the course of use, buying, or selling. Value needs to be realized.
Where’s the clarity?
We realized that the primary challenge faced by organizations, teams, and individuals is that of gaining, maintaining, and sharing clarity. Clarity is our ability to perceive and understand things. We may gain clarity and then lose it. We may struggle to share it. Most conflicts and collective failures stem from a lack of shared clarity. That’s borne out in other books like Tony Saldanha’s Why Digital Transformations Fail and Karen Martin’s Clarity.
Seeing, building, and delivering value
Value too is profoundly interesting. What are our explicit values? And what are the actual implicit values that drive people and organizations? Enron is famous for proudly touting its corporate values. Its actual values were quite different from what they shared publicly. We understand the volatility of the stock market and emerging markets like cryptocurrency. But even money itself has value only to the degree that it helps us fulfill other needs such as survival, security, and reputation.
Pursuing and empowering flow
Flow is fascinating. For many technologists, the reason they were drawn to the field is the experience of getting deeply absorbed in solving technical challenges. The enjoyable state of concentration is called psychological flow, and is central to the field of positive psychology. Flow explains the exceptional performance of people in all fields. Yet flow is also the term used to describe efficient team processes and collaboration. Our day jobs center around how to help teams achieve greater flow. Yet our personal passions are in anything that unlocks an experience of personal flow.