Visual Mapping: How to See Where You're Going By Seeing Where You Are
Steve Pereira

We're pretty sure we know how to make better software, but do we know how to make better workflows? How do we know and communicate what's slowing us down? How can we confidently decide what to automate? Where can we get the time? How can we escape process prison in agile and non-agile environments? How can we get everyone to agree on where to focus? This experience report will detail my involvement with 3 organizations of 3 different sizes (small startup, small-to-medium enterprise, and giant enterprise) to illustrate how I've used a form of Value Stream Mapping to help them define their current state and leverage data collected in the process to confidently identify (often surprising) risks and opportunities.

This talk is for anyone tasked with or striving for measurable improvement in their teams and organizations. Whether you are: - A leader aiming to align their team to a common goal, build a data-driven roadmap or get traction with transformation efforts - A product owner trying to prioritize a backlog - A data junkie trying to quantify team performance and improvement - A program manager transforming from projects to products - A project lead trying to get the most from their process - A change agent trying to rally others to a cause - A frustrated individual contributor just trying to get things done

Learning Objectives
3 things I've learned:
- Complexity is challenging to illustrate, analyze and measure, but without trying you can't improve. Using a simplified, constrained structure (a linear stream) can provide 80% of the benefit of perfect detail with 20% of the effort and confusion. Often just accurately representing complexity leads to surprising insights.
- Sharing the same view can build confidence, alignment, clarity. Teams leave the exercise regardless of the deliverable outcome with a stronger sense of where they are, where they're going, the real enemies to fight against and how they can contribute.
- We found higher value opportunities than what we expected, and collected data to support them. Many leaders have to make priority or planning decisions without data, which can lead to wasted time, effort and credibility when improvement doesn't move the needle. A Value Stream Map can provide data to support or debunk assumptions about next steps.

3 things I want the audience to take away:
- Take a step back, visualize and measure to challenge assumptions, gain clarity and share it.
- Thinking in Value Streams removes a lot of uncertainty about where to focus, how to communicate and represent flow.
- A Value Stream Map doesn't need to be confusing, complicated or take weeks to build.
Learning Level
Session Type
Experience Report