Flow & Value Streams

“If you can’t see it, you can’t manage it.” Fernando Cuenca, Kanban Coaching Professional

Why are we starting here?

Modern Software Delivery contains many principals, mindsets and approaches, we need to care about however, we are starting with one less commonly discussed in the DAF/DoD Modern Software Ecosystem.

It’s important to keep in mind that this is applicable not only to technology and modern software but it was derived from Lean Manufacturing principles.

The system of delivery inside the DAF/DoD has yet to focus on end to end delivery, this will be necessary if we are to improve how we produce mission and business capability.  Delivery capability in cycles that take months or years, is no longer acceptable, as our adversaries are no longer slow-moving nation-state actors rather individuals and groups who are able to pivot and maneuver quickly. In order to improve our processes, we must visualize them and document:

  • how long it takes us to move a piece of work through each step
  • How long work has to wait before it hits each step

The operating hypothesis here is that the steps themselves do not constitute the majority of the time, but rather the delays in between the steps actually consume the vast majority of the time.  As we work to reduce or eliminate delays by automating, combining, rearranging and even eliminating steps in the process, we will reduce the time to delivery.  If we are to improve mission delivery, we must also address the “clunky front end” business processes to improve the:

  • System of work
  • Effectiveness and Efficiency
  • The Productivity of Teams and Individuals
  • The Flow of non-software and software related work

What is Flow?

Lets take a moment to define FLOW:

We believe creating a common lexicon, is one of a few keys to creating a foundational and shared understanding regardless of the functional area you work within.

What is the desired outcome of FLOW?

Minimize waste to maximize mission and business value.

How do we achieve FLOW:

  • Outcome: Define and clarify outcomes
  • Value Stream: Identify and address constraints and waste
  • Dependency: Visualize and address external needs and complexity
  • Capability: Measure and address internal needs and opportunities


  1. Outcome Mapping
    1. Why?
    2. How do you build it?
    3. How do you use it?
    4. Common mistakes or things to watch out for…
  2. Value Stream
  3. Dependency
  4. Capability