Our delivery team may be focused on continuously tuning their CI/CD pipeline but who is focusing on the business pipeline?

If your delivery team is not always producing new functionality at the rate you want, the bottleneck might not be in the way they’re working. Imagine a software development factory that can’t get the raw materials it needs in time to keep production humming.

The Theory of Constraints (ToC) adopts the idiom of “a chain is no stronger than its weakest link”. Delivery teams need the right requirements (chunks of work) at the right time.

“What?” you say. “I’m already working as hard as I can to provide them with complete requirements specifications.” I believe you.  Participants will be introduced to some issues that might have escaped your attention and will address those issues in ways that may save them some work.

Questions that may be helpful to consider are:

  • What makes it so challenging to provide the information the delivery team needs at the time they need it?
  • What causes our business pipeline to be broken? In manufacturing, identifying bottlenecks may be obvious but what about knowledge work?!
  • What’s hidden that could cause delays and create a state of learned helplessness?

This presentation will explore the challenges that stems from the discovery and explore ideas to consider for building a healthy business pipeline. At the end of this session, you will be able to identify the bottlenecks using the drum buffer rope and learn about the 3 amigos and clarification through examples (acceptance scenarios) and techniques to alleviate the bottlenecks.


Outline/Structure of the Talk

  • Finding the bottleneck
    • Where is the bottleneck? (Theory of constraints & drum buffer rope)
  • Product management team structure
    • Conflict between POs with no agreement on how to reach consensus
    • Just-in-time story elaboration
    • Splitting stories
  • Techniques for Clarifying stories
    • Clarification through examples
    • Splitting stories by example
    • Three Amigos process
  • Story Elaboration Pitfalls
    • Too much work? Too technical? Leave it to programmer & tester?
    • The need to nail down the details, just-in-time
    • Making timely decisions
    • What elements depend on other elements?
    • Slicing thinly to allow separation by priority
  • Things to avoid!
    • Switching stories after development has started
    • Changing the acceptance criteria of stories after selection for iteration

Learning Outcome

  • Define what the business pipeline is
  • Introduce the drum buffer rope (DBR) that’s derived from the theory of constraints (TOC) as a possible solution
  • Identify the challenges with the business pipeline
  • Ideas on how to fix the business pipeline.

Target Audience

Product owners, Subject Matter Experts, Business Analysts, Project Managers, Agile Coaches

schedule Submitted 5 years ago

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