DevOps Enterprise Summit 2019 Speaker Q&A: Dominica DeGrandis, Principal Flow Advisor, Tasktop

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“One big new “A-ha!” is the emergence of new roles in enterprises transitioning from project to product. Roles with skills that optimize product value streams, such as the Value Stream Architect.“

With DevOps Enterprise Summit 2019 returning next week (The Cosmopolitan, Las Vegas, October 28-30), Tasktop (Booth 403) plans to make our biggest splash yet.

Last year, in addition to showcasing our market-leading enterprise-grade toolchain integration tool for software delivery at scale, our CEO and founder Dr. Mik Kersten launched his book Project to Product and the pioneering Flow Framework™ to great fanfare. This year we will be progressing this vision by unveiling a new product that redefines how businesses measure their software delivery – find out more about the product and our plans for the show in our pre-show blog.

As part of our participation in one of our favorite shows, a number of Tasktopians will be taking to the stage to share their experiences in helping customers with their DevOps transformation and journey from project to product. The second interview in the series is with Dominica DeGrandis, one of our Principal Flow Advisors and author of Making Work Visible, who talks about her work on the frontline with customers.

You’ve been working closely with customers for years to help them visualize the flow of work and value across their software delivery value streams. What’s the engagement like – is the conversation shifting?

Customers light up when they start to make work visible — especially when that visualized information helps them improve how they work. How they categorize work through the Flow Framework is crucial too. We label improvements as debt work and suggest they become first-class citizens along with feature work. People get excited about this because no one ever seems to have enough capacity allocated to pay down the debt to accelerate delivery. As far as shifts in conversation, many customers are not afraid to ask questions related to the reduction of employee burnout, with a focus on ensuring the folks creating value are happy, healthy and empowered.

Through your work with customers, has your own personal thinking changed at all? Any “ah-ha!” moments, any lightbulbs?  

One big new “A-ha!” is the emergence of new roles in enterprises transitioning from project to product. Roles with skills that optimize product value streams, such as the Value Stream Architect. This is a role that’s focused on flow of work from ideation to operation, harnessing end-to-end integration to accelerate delivery, as well as experimenting with design that is based on hypotheses formed by flow metrics.  As Satya Nadela says, “There cannot be a more important thing for an engineer, for a product team, than to work on the systems that drive our productivity.” 

Your role has recently changed from Director of Digital Transformation to Principal Flow Advisor – what will this new role entail?

Moving from project to product can consume a lot of time for organizations steeped in conventional project thinking and processes. As Principal Flow Advisor, my role includes helping teams adapt to a value stream management mindset quickly so they can discover the benefits early on. This usually entails helping teams to set-up experiments to make their bottlenecks visible and generate flow metrics to improve decisions.

You’re speaking again at this year about structuring IT teams – can you tell us a bit more about why attendees should attend and what they can expect to take away from your session?

My session is entitled, ‘Shift Happens: Do You Have the Right Teams for Managing Work by Product?’ It looks at how new ways of working have forced a rethink on how IT teams are structured. As more organizations start managing work by product, some long-standing roles will become less important — and others will become mission-critical. In my talk, I’m going to cover which roles are changing and three new roles that IT organizations can consider for their IT organization. The takeaway is a useful tool that helps leaders hire for these new roles — by starting with their own people.

You can catch Dominica’s eagerly-anticipated talk on Monday, October 28, 11:25 – 11:55, in the Chelsea Ballroom.

Make your questions audible

Dominica will also be hosting a Q&A at the Tasktop booth (403) on Tuesday afternoon from 1:30-1:55pm. Stop by to ask her questions such as:

  •   How can I prioritize my work?
  •   What is the biggest bottleneck you see in optimizing workflow and how can you prevent it?

Have a chat with our super-friendly team

Schedule an on-site meeting with passionate Tasktopians who would love to show you how we can help you connect, measure and optimize your software delivery value streams (you’ll even be automatically entered to win an Oculus Go Virtual Reality Headset. Double win!).

See you next week!