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Drew Deal

Value Stream Orientation


One of the most important coaching goals in a Dojo challenge is to inspire the team to understand the system view, specifically how value flows from ideation all the way to deployment and support. It isn’t the “First Way” of DevOps for nothing. However, the question we often get sounds something like:

Is it really necessary to train everyone regarding the overall system? Our developers need to be heads down and let the architects, RTE’s, and other Program leaders manage the big picture.

Of course as you read that question you can easily detect it resembles a defense of a well established management paradigm. Broaching this subject in your Dojo will require a healthy combination of some of these organizational attributes:

  • Understanding that DevOps is more than just pipeline tooling skills.
  • Sufficient framing and preparation with managers that the team will be empowered toward autonomy while entrusted to the Dojo.
  • Trust that the Dojo coaches are working toward the good of all, not just the team members.
  • Openness that despite how teams are currently aligned, that teams can contribute realignment insights to improve feature lead times.
  • A catching on of the fact that software architecture is a skill vs being a role.

Even heavily matrixed organizations mired in a negative cycle of pointing people’s attention back toward their siloed constraints are coming around to the realization that they must at least make the Value Stream visible in some way. We beleive the Dojo can demonstrate value to both the team and the programs they serve by establishing a Value Stream orientation in the early stages of the engagement. We map the value stream early on. We call out dependencies. We reduce handoffs where empowered. We report on the waste in handoffs where not empowered.

In all this, we see time and time again that Value Stream orientation in the Dojo creates retained value for the team and creates viral value for other programs in the organization watching all this transpire.