Better ways of working: getting started

How do you adopt new, modern ways of working that advance your organization’s strategic goals, the work you do for your clients, and your own professional development?

Enter: Value, Flow, Quality (VFQ), Emergn’s approach to transforming the way people and companies work.

The VFQ approach allows people to learn and adopt new, modern ways of delivering products, services, or ideas to market, all within the context of their work. It underpins how we transform people and companies enabling us to focus on outcomes, not simply the application of agile methodologies.

The principles were built by fusing insights and guidance from practitioners, thought leaders, clients, and experts, alongside thousands of articles, books, case studies, and models to synthesize concepts and frameworks. Together, this material provides the foundation for practitioners and experts to execute better ways of working throughout design, delivery, and quality assurance processes.

We built our Learning Services practice from the ground up, it was founded on the basis that lasting change requires transformative learning in the workplace. Today, hundreds of companies around the globe use the principles of VFQ to change how their organization adopts disciplines such as Agile, Design Thinking, Lean, and Systems Thinking to support their innovation efforts to compete more effectively in the digital economy.

Let’s break down the three guiding principles of VFQ.

Deliver value early and often

The first principle is to deliver value early and often, defined by identifying, prioritizing, and delivering what is valuable to the customer incrementally.

In the context of the customer, it’s critical to focus on what is valuable and important to them early on. Organizations often struggle with this and only feel comfortable launching a product only when it’s 100% ready, to see the whole experience.

However, both customer needs and market conditions change frequently, and by waiting until something is 100% ready, it can be too late and will likely result in delivering the wrong thing or the work being abandoned altogether. To remedy this, it’s critical to deliver value early and often, so there’s time to course-correct if necessary.

Optimize the flow of work end-to-end

VFQ’s second guiding principle is about optimizing the flow of work end-to-end. Put differently, it is smoothing out how work is flowing through the entire system of work. Anything that halts or disrupts work is a block or a delay, which VFQ is designed to help resolve.

It’s a simple fact that most organizations want to move faster. Despite striving towards this, very few organizations deliver projects, products, or features as fast as their customers would like. It would be easy to say that optimizing flow correlates to speed – so let’s just move faster. But that could not be further from the truth.

Fortunately, VFQ will help you consider both value and quality to prevent you from building something the customer doesn’t want or even from building something which fails or isn’t maintainable in the long run. The principle of optimizing flow focuses on ways to help your organization by removing waste and reducing the time it takes for an idea to move from concept into the hands of your customers.

Discover quality with fast feedback

Lastly, the third VFQ guiding principle is discovering quality with fast feedback. This concept can be defined by using feedback loops to ensure you are building the right thing and building that thing right. In other words, building what the customer has asked for, and building it in a stable and maintainable manner.

Organizations often seek feedback only after getting a product or service built – and much of this feedback comes from internal stakeholders. This can lead to building the wrong thing, which causes delays in getting this to the true customer. The principle of discovering quality with fast feedback introduces the notion of a product mindset where uncertainty is incrementally reduced via feedback. Feedback helps you gain the learning you need at the right point – when change is still possible and less expensive.

The only way to truly deliver something of value is to gain feedback from the customer as early as possible to prevent delays in the flow of work, ensuring that what you build is of the highest quality.

Simply put, the principles of VFQ allow for more innovative ways of working.

Stay tuned for more in our Better Ways of Working series, including articles on creative product design, confident product delivery, and curious quality assurance.