Apr 27th, 2023

Best Practices

Achieving Value Delivery

  Written by: Craig Vosper, Chief Delivery Officer

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Productivity is a measure that has been used throughout every project I’ve ever been a part of. There are many ways in which productivity can be calculated, but I firmly believe that the most useful measure is cost/value. This means that in order to track productivity, value must be delivered!

I’d like to share a handful of lessons I’ve learned about productivity. I hope they will prove useful in your own journey of becoming more productive.

Don’t divide by zero.
You can’t measure productivity until you’ve achieved value. Any effort taken outside of delivering value only serves to reduce your productivity. Start by delivering value as soon as possible and then determine further steps for improving productivity.

There can be only one.
As stated in possibly the greatest movie ever, Highlander, “there can be only one.” This means focusing on the most important (valuable) thing and delivering it as soon as possible. When we try to deliver “everything” we only delay the realization of value and receive more divide-by-zero errors.

Finishing is better than starting.
The more things we start, the more things we must juggle – leading to a lack of focus and attention. Give your full attention to the most important items and realize their value before you start something else. For example, if your developers finish a sprint early and want to move on to items in the next sprint. Consider having them help QA with testing so the work can get completed, deployed, and the full value realized before moving onward.

Don’t be an obstacle.
In the software world we tend to swing back and forth between specialists and generalists. Regardless of your stance, don’t become an obstacle to the delivery of value. In our example above, developers who say “I don’t do QA” are an obstacle to the delivery of that value. Consider a scenario where your pitcher gets hurt and the coach looks to you, the first baseman, to finish the game on the mound. Do you say no and forfeit?

Deeds, not words.
One of the units I served in during my time in the army had the motto: “Deeds, not words.” Don’t just talk about your status, show your status. Don’t tell me that you’re 80% done, show me! In all things, consider less talkie-talkie and more doie-doie!

Keep your focus on the immediate delivery of value and you will find that it provides a natural way of identifying ways to improve productivity. Delivering value, in the end, is the only reason we build software.