Process Mapping for Scrum Teams

How do you figure out the ideal members of your Scrum team? How do you have good conversations with about silos in an organization? Here’s simple and quick technique to get you started: process mapping for Scrum Teams.

Process Mapping for Scrum Teams

In this past week I’ve been asked a couple of questions that I realized I’ve been answering with the same technique.
How do you assemble a Scrum team?How do I handle structural company issues?
The contexts of each question are different. The first is regarding a team that is starting its Agile journey. The second comes from a team already in an Agile organization.
However the core of both questions are very similar. Both touch on the question: How do I optimize my team structure for value?
Value is a very dangerous term. It is subjective. Very subjective.
The first step to a good discussion is to define what we mean. How can we make that subjective term objective?
Visualize it.
Here are the steps to the mapping process.

  1. What’s the end of the process?
  2. What are the steps to get there?
  3. Who is involved?

Let’s dive in.

1. Start from the End

Let’s draw our value stream goes from left to right. Put Idea💡 on the left and value 🎁  on the right. How does the team define value? Do we all share that definition?

Process → DoD - Step 1.jpg

It is amazing how many times we take for granted that we are aligned on that. Asking this “obvious question” (those are air quotes) can trigger essential discussions.

2. Visualizing the Steps

From the value 🎁  start leading the team backwards: What’s the step before we provide that value to our customer? And before that? On and on.

Process → DoD - Step 2.jpg

It is important to start from the value and walk backwards. Once I made the mistake to start from the left and go forward. 30 minutes into the workshop and we were not even close to visualizing the entire process.
Start from the end to ensure that you get through this quickly and efficiently.
How much detail should we visualize? We want just enough detail to carry out a good conversation. It is best to stay at a high level.

3. Visualizing the Actors

The next step is to find out who are participating in those steps. List the actors on the left side of the board. Then pull the steps that were identified down to the lane of the actors.

Process → DoD - Step 3.jpg

At the end of this mapping process, we have a view of our value stream. We can then start having objective discussions on what to do next. 

Finding Boundaries – Case Study

Here’s an example from an actual workshop I did recently:

Process → DoD - Example.jpg

With this in sight, I drew – as a provocation – the “ideal boundaries” for our team.

Process → DoD - Example - Ideal.jpg

At this point, there was all sorts of commotion and push-backs. Capture those statements; those are our improvement backlog. 
“No way we can do all of that in 2 weeks! We can only do a little piece of the whole in those 2 weeks”, a participant stated.
It led to the correct conversation. Which little piece could we do? How do we prioritize these little pieces? What’s the most valuable part?
We finally settled into the following:

Process → DoD - Example - Starting team.jpg

A lot of risk and waste on both sides of the sprint. From here we can start negotiating with the different silos and expanding the team.
As the team matures, its sphere of influence will grow and cover more of the process.

Process → DoD - Example - Team is maturing.jpg

Wrapping Up

In order to have good conversations around subjective terms like “value” we need to visualize them. Visualizing the value creation process for an organization allows us to align on what we mean and have an objective conversation.

If you’re curious, you can find the Miro board here.

Maybe you are also interested about Meeting mapping: how to visualize a meeting.

Process Mapping for Scrum Teams

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