Disciplined Agile

The value creation structure of the organization

Back to Dealing with Complexity by Creating a Bias For Simplicity


The value creation structure of an organization is one of the principle factors for simplicity. Go to Dealing with Complexity by Creating a Bias For Simplicity to see how they work together.

Why look at this

The value creation structure has a major impact on the flow of value st

How people are organized has a

When batch sizes are too large:

  • it causes people to be less effective
  • it causes delays in the workflow and in getting feedback which creates waste
  • it delays the realization of value
  • it makes it difficult to collaborate

Desired batch size by level:

  • being worked on by an individual (e.g., story) – less than three days
  • work in process for a team (e.g., team backlog) – less than 2 weeks
  • work in process for an organization – 1-3 months, the smaller the better

Symptoms that your batches are too large

  • People working on too many projects
  • Work taking much longer than it should
  • Projects being worked on by many people part time

What causes this

Common causes are:

  • not using minimum Business Increments
  • not developing in small increments
  • not managing dependencies between teams making it difficult to decompose what needs to be built

What we want to achieve

Working on small batches at the different parts of the value stream. At the intake part of the value stream we should be using MVPs and MBIs. At the program level, we should be having small components that can be built and validated. At the team level we should have as little work in process as possible while keeping people productive.

Common solutions

  • use MBIs to have smaller batches coming in
  • decouple teams so the total work in process can be lowered
  • have cross-functional and focused solution teams so fewer items so batches coming in can be completed quickly
  • An essential one is using MBIs.
  • Create visibility on all work in the system
  • Right-size the work waiting to be started using MVPs, MBIs, and MVRs appropriately
  • Sequence work to be pulled
  • Create a focus on finishing (see Manage Work-in-Process (WIP) by Focusing on Finishing  for more

See Improving Your Value Creation Structure

Other simplicity factors that are directly related to this one

Related Resources

Organize for Complexity: How to Get Life Back Into Work to Build the High-Performance Organization by Niels Pflaeging. This is a great book and goes well beyond discussing the value creation structure.

Team Topologies: Organizing Business and Technology Teams for Fast Flow by Matthew Skelton and Manuel Pais. This is a really good read that discusses how Conway'sLaw has a far more reaching impact on our work and communication than one might expect.

Dynamic Re-teaming: The Art and Wisdom of Changing Teams by Heidi Helfand. This is a very useful and pragmatic work. Heidi provides a lot of great advice based on experience. If you are coaching growing organizations this is a must read.

Agile Organizational Design by Jeff Anderson. This book provides several options on organizing teams.