What is “Product Delivery” and where did the term come from? Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) defines it this way:
Agile Product Delivery is a customer-centric approach to defining, building, and releasing a continuous flow of valuable products and services to customers and users.
Note the key words:
- Customer centric
- Define, Build, Release
- Valuable products and services
Beyond Taking Orders
So what does this mean for the people at Cognizant Softvision “in the trenches” of trying to get a given product or project built/released?
It means that for those of us in the Product Delivery community, we cannot afford to be merely order takers or dominated by the bullet points or dates in an SOW. Can we just ignore the SOW? Certainly not. But as Product Delivery executioners, it means we need to ask “Based on what we know, is what we are doing going to return the most value in the shortest time, or get the client/stakeholder closer to their ultimate goal?” We must be customer or end user focused as we make Release Plans and guide the teams through Agile ceremonies. Sometimes it takes conscious effort to come up out of our release plans and ceremonies and remember the why behind the what. If we learn the path to greatest value is in conflict with the original plan- it’s time to raise flags and renegotiate.
The Right Environment
“Define, Build and Release” for Product Delivery does not mean “Flush out user stories and journey maps”, “write code” and “set up DevOps environments”. And, depending on our background we may need to resist those urges sometimes. Our role in Product Delivery revolves around what we can “cause to happen” by creating the right environments for our teams. Not actually DO the work. That’s where Product Delivery comes in. In order for “x” to happen, who do I need? When? What are they going to need at that time?
Don’t Lose Sight of the Value
Valuable products and services. This is why we do this. If it isn’t valuable- then we shouldn’t be investing in it. One of the biggest myths that can creep in during the day-to-day in Product Delivery is that “As long as it goes out on time, I did my part.” followed closely by “I don’t have to understand it, I just need to get it done.” The more we find phrases like this creeping into our mind, the greater the chance we are going off course. If we lose sight of the value then budget and time become quickly irrelevant. Do we need to know every nuance of a product’s use? No. But we need to at least know why it is valuable and be able to articulate that.
What about you? What are some of the things you thought were true at the start of your career you have learned to not be the case?