TBM Framework & Taxonomy

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Where are Value Streams, Epics, Teams...?

  • 1.  Where are Value Streams, Epics, Teams...?

    Staff
    Posted 02-05-2021 12:57

    A question I've gotten a fair amount over the past year or so has been:

    Where are [Value Streams | Epics | Teams] in the TBM Taxonomy?

    If you're not familiar with Value Streams or Epics (or Agile Teams), I suggest reading their definitions here: https://www.scaledagileframework.com/glossary/ 

    A deeper dive into Value Streams can be found here: https://www.scaledagileframework.com/value-streams/

    In our Standards process in 2020, the Standards Committee discussed including these elements in the TBM Taxonomy v4.0. In the end, the committee concluded that value streams, epics, projects, etc., are the "how" of developing apps, products or services (what we call Solutions) and therefore they were not included in the Taxonomy itself.

    Of course, these objects are used in TBM cost models and reporting. But there have always been TBM data sources with objects that are not shown in the Taxonomy. For example, we've never had "Projects" in the Taxonomy, but we know that Project data is used in many (if not most) TBM models and that TBM models are often used to cost projects themselves. Project costs are comprised of Tower/Subtower resources (e.g., Application Development, Servers, Online Storage, Database, Middleware, etc.). But Projects are usually a development bucket, basically; projects are not the Application, Service or Product that ultimately delivers value to the business.

    SAFe seems to take a similar tack with their definition of Value Streams:

    "Value Streams represent the series of steps that an organization uses to implement Solutions that provide a continuous flow of value to a customer." © Scaled Agile, Inc.

    So, the committee's consensus was that Value Streams, Epics, Projects, etc., did not meet the criteria we've used to define what appears in the taxonomy.

    With 4.0, we refined the Products & Services layer to "Solutions", which includes Applications, Products and Services. Solutions is the term Scaled Agile uses to refer to these things more generally, with the primary object in Agile being Products (the whole "Projects to Products" shift), and we felt this was a good  term to use to allow flexibility for what appears in that layer. And we also introduced the Solution Classes to call out Applications, Products, and Services.

    I'd like to know what you think. How do you use Value Streams, etc. in your TBM reporting? Are you funding (budgeting) by Value Streams, etc.? Do you think we should have included Value Streams or Epics or Projects or Teams in the standard taxonomy and why?



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    Todd Tucker
    VP, Standards and Education
    TBM Council
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  • 2.  RE: Where are Value Streams, Epics, Teams...?

    Posted 06-02-2021 13:54
    Thanks for asking this question Todd. I've been thinking about value streams and TBM as I read through your 'Introducing the Banking TBM Taxonomy (3.0)' and 'TBM Taxonomy 4.0' decks. I'm a SAFe Program Consultant in the banking industry, but have just started learning about TBM.

    I am particularly interested in this topic because we have discussed funding value streams to move from a project based model. This means for us the products = value streams. The sample value streams provided by SAFe happen to involve banking and align with your suggested business services - Retail Lending, Credit Cards, Deposits, etc.  I wonder in TBM if Business Service = SAFe Value Stream? I am very interested to see how your banking workgroup evolves.

    You mentioned Teams as well. SAFe and 2020 State of DevOps Report have made reference to the Skelton/Pais book Team Topologies this year. The book describes Stream-aligned, Enabling, Complicated-subsystem and Platform Teams. I wonder how this aligns with TBM?

    BTW - Enjoyed your book!

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    Roger Dreher
    Enterprise Agile Coach
    BBVA Compass
    AL
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  • 3.  RE: Where are Value Streams, Epics, Teams...?

    Posted 06-04-2021 04:59
    Hi,

    At the Swedish Tax Agency our Value Streams are our Business Services. Our Products are more or less = our Applications.

    Gunnar Durén
    TBMA
    Skatteverket - Swedish Tax Agency


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    Gunnar Durén
    TBMA
    Skatteverket
    0708129250
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  • 4.  RE: Where are Value Streams, Epics, Teams...?

    Staff
    Posted 06-09-2021 14:14
    @Gunnar Durén Thanks for sharing that. We've had folks over the years refer to asset-based services as products. This often included compute, storage, etc., but has also included applications. I think you're consistent, too.

    Perhaps we should consider defining Solutions (with v4+) as including Apps, Services, Products and Value Streams?​

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    Todd Tucker
    VP, Standards and Education
    TBM Council
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  • 5.  RE: Where are Value Streams, Epics, Teams...?

    Posted 06-11-2021 05:35
    Yes, I think that might be a good idea. Value streams as a concept fits neatly with our business processes as a government agency. So it makes sense to provide services that support those processes - our value streams, such as Population register, Income taxation and declaration, VAT administration etc.

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    Gunnar Durén
    TBMA
    Skatteverket
    0708129250
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  • 6.  RE: Where are Value Streams, Epics, Teams...?

    Staff
    Posted 06-09-2021 14:11
    @Roger Dreher thanks for responding to my post. Very helpful. (And thanks for the book complement!)

    I'd love to know more about the Stream-aligned, Enabling, Complicated-subsystem and Platform Teams. Seems like Stream-aligned might refer to the same type of thing we're talking about: business solutions or possible shared/corporate solutions as Streams (and therefore teams that work on those Streams). Platforms are really a form of shared services, where we would use Platform Solutions in the taxonomy (technical solutions). Enabling and C-s may be similar to Platform Solution but perhaps things like Infrastructure or Delivery in our taxonomy.

    Lot's to chew on. As you talk to customers about TBM and taxonomy, please share what you're seeing out there!

    Thanks again.​

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    Todd Tucker
    VP, Standards and Education
    TBM Council
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