The most important part of the workflow process are feedback loops, and how they affect the speed and quality of value delivery.
The ultimate goal is to deliver quality software to our customers. Instead of speculating how an end-user might consume your teams' product, feedback loops improve your existing workflow so that you may meet your customer’s needs rapidly and with less waste.
Examples of Critical Feedback Loops
Feedback loops are as follows: You produce something, measure information on that production, and use that information to improve.
How well does the team understand the requirements?
Teams need to work with leadership to flush out requirements. How well those requirements are understood, can be shown by how often developers are requesting additional information, or how often the team is committing code.
How fast can the team detect defects?
Defects are weaknesses in the system. The systematic approach of detecting where defects are occurring, and how far downstream they are, directly affects a team’s Mean Time to Detect.
How effective are our tests?
Testing is one of the most effective feedback loops a team can have in place. Automated tests for example, provide feedback about your system in seconds.
How well does what we’re producing, match the users actual needs?
Understanding if we’re meeting the needs of the consumer is critical feedback.
How fast can we determine that the customer is using the feature, and is happy with it? The longer the duration between the time we’ve started work, to the time we find out information, the more expensive it is.
- Use value stream mapping to uncover feedback loops, not just bottlenecks between specific steps.
- Focus on feedback loops that involve human communication, not just system alerts.
- Not all feedback loops are positive. Amplify feedback loops that promote positive change.
As a development team, we want to identify and shorten our feedback loops, so that we can analyze and optimize our workflow processes.