We recently created a Value Stream Mapping (VSM) for a category of high cost features on one of our teams. The interesting thing we discovered was, we uncovered issues that did not surface during the regular sprint retrospective. How did that happen?
Could it be, we do not have effective retrospectives? Unlikely, as this team has been pretty good at it. Of course, retrospectives do not catch all the things we want to get better at. But this was a pretty significant miss.
The thing that stands out is, the VSM was more focused on a particular category of work. Whereas during a retrospective, the team is looking at all kinds of work that was done in the sprint. Here are two key observations…
- The focus, let the developers to mull more about the particular kind of work
- The act of creating a VSM, helped the team to revisit the various stages of development and ponder more about what exactly occurred at each stage. (The developers who participated in the actual development work, constantly revised their previous statements recalling some new details.)
This does not mean, we will stop doing retrospectives. However, it was nice to see that we could glean valuable insight into the development process with this exercise.