Figure 1: MMF Workflow
Table of Content:
Purpose of LAND – Lean-Agile Network Diagram
LAND is a Lean-Agile framework that was designed by Izi Peled to help organizations accelerate value delivery and reduce process waste. Based on the Agile values & principles LAND drives organizations to achieve high level of Agility and redefine a culture that encourages excellency that will allow them to create value within a short lead time. LAND is a proven knowledge base that can be adopted by various organizations, from startups to large enterprises. The Lean-Agile process presented by LAND is a generic process that can be adjusted based on the organizational needs and constraints.
Value Delivery is a complex task. It involves large number of activities that have to be effectively coordinated in order to deliver value. Value delivery is even more complex if more than one team is involved. Coordination becomes crucial when many teams are working together on the same backlog. Communication is becoming crucial if team members that are doing work that affects each other are not on the same collocated team. Hence, organizations will need to adopt a new thinking that is taking into consideration the three following pillars:
- People – teams at all levels of the organization. From the first team member to the last senior manager
- Methodology – Clear process that will enhance the organizational alignment and its visibility
- Organizational Culture that fosters open communication and innovation
Based on these pillars and Agile thinking, LAND is offering a process that has managed to successfully deal with these challenges and improve the prediction of cost and time.
In LAND framework the basic unit of value creation will be arranged in a form of an MMF – Minimal Marketable Feature:
- Minimal – the smallest possible features
- Marketable – provides significant value to the customer
- Feature – something that is observable to the user
MMF is the smallest possible increment that has a real value to the customer. Once inserted to the backlog, every MMF will contain its business requirement, description, high level solution and acceptance criteria (e.g. do the right thing). MMFs make the best unit of planning for releases.
As part of the backlog refinement, MMFs are constantly added, sized and prioritized. This will allow a relentless flow of MMFs (that is, value units) towards the development teams.
At the beginning of the implementation, in every organization special attention is given to discuss how the MMF should be defined. In some cases MMF is based purely on business requirement. In other cases MMF will be more “solution oriented”. This is more likely to happen in integrated systems.
LAND differentiates between three elementary terms:
- Business Requirement – a requirement that creates new value to the customer. This may be new functionality of modifying an existing functionality
- Technical Requirement (Enabler) – a requirement that reduces the technical debt. This may be code refactoring, developing new infrastructure, resolving production bugs etc.
- Solution – the solution that was designed and implemented to accomplish the Business/Technical requirement
Business requirement usually will be initiated by the business stake holders whereas technical requirement and solution will be usually initiated by the development teams.
In adherence to the Lean-Agile thinking there are several principles that will be incorporated in the organization and constitute the basis for a new language. The principles are:
- The project/product content will be decomposed into the smallest business requirements that create value for customers – MMF : Minimal Marketable Feature
- Solution design, sizing and implementation will be at the MMFs level
- A project is a collection of MMFs
- The organization will work only in a clear order of priorities defined by the business stakeholders
- Focus will be on “Must Have” MMF rather than “Nice to have” MMFs
- Because the process combines lean management ideas, we will not start working on MMFs before it is understood and ready for development – reducing waste
- Work on the MMF will be in small batches to generate fast value for customers – the focus is on TTV– “Time to Value” and not on TTM – “Time to Market”
- At each Batch conclusion, a “Retrospective” will be carried out
The assumption is that if the organization works in small value units (MMFs) that are sized separately and managed in small batches (small versions), the accuracy of the sizing will be higher and the total error margin of the entire project will be smaller. Moreover, if time and cost estimates are inaccurate, it is discovered very early in the process. In addition, the ability to respond to changes is higher because the organization concentrates on small MMF and if a change is requested it will usually will affect a future MMF and therefore the waste will be minimal.
Every organization can work in MMF value units, whether it works in methods such as Scrum or a hybrid organization (combining several methods).
An organization that speaks the Feature language can size and manage its projects more accurately and reduce waste.
It is clear that every process has a waste. LAND framework is focused on reducing waste to the minimum possible. The process is comprised of 7 states by which value is created (value stream), from the business requirement definition towards launching of a new system capability (Figure 1).
Based on a Lean-Agile flow, MMF will move to the next step only if:
- The MMF is high priority
- The MMF has finished all steps in a specific stage
The MMF states are:
New – The default state when a new MMF is inserted to the system. At the end of the “New” state, the MMF is sized at a high level and can be planned into a release. This estimate is usually not far from reality since we know a lot about the MMF already in this state.
Analysis – MMF is analyzed, sized and decomposed into User Stories. User stories are clear to the teams and sized. At the end of the analysis stage, the MMF’s sizing is very accurate.
Ready for Dev – MMF is ready for development and tests. All User stories are Ready for Dev. At this point Definition of Start – DoS may not be materialized. Teams will work on its User stories that will be serving the MMF to create value. MMF will be delivered to the customer.
In Progress – Teams are working on the user stories of the MMF . During this state teams may work in Scrum, Kanban or any other methodology they choose as long as they deliver a working MMF . The section “Scrum in LAND” will elaborate on how we Scrum the Lean-Agile way.
Completed – Development and Tests of the MMF are completed. MMF is ready for Demo.
Accepted – Demo was done and MMF is accepted by Product Owner/Product Manager. Accepted means the development team has achieved the business requirement.
General Availability – MMF was launched and added new value to the customer.
This Lean-Agile workflow will allow organizations to understand very early in the process what the complexity and the size of the MMF is and therefore what the realistic scope of the project is. Organizations practicing this process experience substantial waste reduction.
In order to start practicing LAND the organization will have to start speaking the Feature language that is based on MMF . If the entire organization speaks the same language and prioritization is managed in one place there is a high probability that the organization will concentrate on the must have MMFs and in creating real value. No matter which methodology the team is practicing (e.g. scrum, Kanban or any other practice), organizational lean-agile process will enhance the focus on value creation. This is actually a form of hybrid organization.