The 7-Step Sustainable Predictability Roadmap
Let’s talk about building our credibility for a moment. What does it take to build our reputation as professionals? Can we and our teams commit to a delivery scope or delivery date that we could actually meet? Do we have the means at our disposal to hit our targets? More often than not, the answer to these questions is rooted in our ability to establish and preserve predictable delivery workflows.
Whenever I talk to a client for the very first time, the first question I ask is always “What are the top three challenges you’re struggling with right now?”. And over and over again, I hear the exact same answer: “Lack of predictability, lack of predictability and lack of predictability”.
The fact is, most of the managers we work with wish for the process of estimation to be easier, less time-consuming and for it to actually work. They need to establish a system of trust and support rather than making their people work long hours, reinforcing arbitrary deadlines that are based on who knows what.
They want to enable their teams to do more with confidence and allow a little bit of subjectivity, in order to deliver top-quality results. They long to achieve more predictable delivery workflows and meet their customers’ and stakeholders’ expectations. However, it’s been a constant struggle; they’ve been trying to crack this nut for years.
Nave is a customer-centric company. Our driving motivation is seeing our clients accomplish their goals. And today, we’ll reveal our proven 7-step roadmap that will help you achieve sustainable predictability.
The 7-Step Sustainable Predictability Roadmap
The roadmap to sustainable predictability consists of 7 steps, each building on top of the previous one. Let’s explore all of them in detail.
Step #1: Awareness. Enabling a Flow-Based System
Enabling sustainable predictability starts with the mindset shift. You ought to gain more awareness about the obstacles that hinder your performance and prevent you from delivering on time.
See your work in terms of flow. The main focus should be on perceiving your process as a system. It’s critical to understand why tracking and optimizing an individual’s performance actually contradicts the optimization of your entire workflow. Make explicit where you’re going and how you’re going to get there.
Step #2: Evaluation. Revealing the Current State of Your Flow
The second step in the sustainable predictability roadmap is all about flow metrics and analytics. Explore what the main flow metrics reveal and make sure you understand the industry-standard flow analytical charts to track and evaluate your performance.
Keep an eye on your delivery times, measure how much work you deliver and analyze the amount of work in progress in your system. This is where our analytical tool will be of great help – with it, you’ll be able to perform a deep analysis of your processes and understand the meaning behind your data.
Step #3: Improvement. Adopting Continuous Improvement Practices
In this step, your focus should move to enabling continuous improvement. Explore and adopt the continuous improvement strategies that are best suited to your own context.
Reveal the root causes behind your delays and dig deeper into the approaches that will enable you to mitigate them. Attack the sources of inefficiency in your workflow to improve your delivery speed and plant the seeds of a continuous improvement environment.
Step #4: Consistency. Optimizing Your System for Predictability
The fourth step in the sustainable predictability roadmap, Optimizing Your Flow-Based System for Predictability, is all about putting a stable system in place. This way, you bring more consistency to your working practices, thereby optimizing your workflow for predictability.
Dive deeper into the relationship between the main flow metrics and make all parties understand how they affect each other. Adopting the explicit policies to enable a smooth flow of work and predictable delivery results is of immense importance here.
Step #5: Direction. Establishing Value-Based Prioritization
At this point, it’s time to clarify your direction. This step is ultimately about business outcomes. Optimizing your delivery flow is a big move towards achieving sustainable results but none of it will make sense if your output doesn’t translate to an outcome.
The importance of maintaining work items that define customer value is tremendous. That’s why you have to establish a decision-making framework that will enable you to sequence your backlog items based on the value they bring to your business and your customers.
Step #6: Alignment. Managing Dependencies Effectively
Step #6 is about aligning your collaborative efforts throughout all the departments in your organization, in order to ensure a stable workflow throughout your entire value stream. Adopt the data-driven approaches to allocating capacity to enable effective risk management. To persist the predictability of your workflows, your focus should be on managing dependencies effectively.
Step #7: Predictability. Making Reliable Delivery Predictions
It’s not a coincidence that using the data-driven approaches to making reliable delivery commitments is the last step of the sustainable predictability roadmap.
You can only make this work if you’ve taken control of your management practices and you’ve established stable delivery systems. In fact, if you haven’t, nothing will work. You’d be better off buying a pair of dice and rolling them. You’d end up with the same confidence level of meeting your commitments.
In this step, it’s time to adopt a data-driven decision-making approach to producing delivery forecasts. Use your own past performance data to predict the delivery of your work. Master the tools that will help you provide reliable results.
If you’re willing to achieve sustainable predictability in your delivery workflows, this roadmap is your ticket to make that happen. In fact, this is the exact roadmap we explore in-depth in our Sustainable Predictability digital course and I’d be thrilled to welcome you to the program.
“When will it be done?” That is the first question you’ll be asked whenever a new opportunity arrives. And, for the most part, it is the only thing your customers and stakeholders are interested in until you deliver. Whether your process is predictable or not is judged by the accuracy of your answer. So, take a stand and give a confident one. Starting today, and continuing for many years to come.
Meet the Author
Sonya Siderova is a passionate product manager and a driving force behind Nave, a Kanban analytics suite that helps teams improve their delivery speed through data-driven decision making. When she's not catering to her two little ones, you might find Sonya absorbed in a good heavyweight boxing match or behind a screen crafting a new blog post.