Watch the baton not the runner

Watch the baton - two athletes hading over the baton in a race

The second principle of VFQ is to optimize the flow of work end to end. This means we need to think about the moment a new idea comes into existence right to the point when it is in the hands of a user and making a difference in someone’s life.

Ideas can be anything – a new product or service, an organization change, a feature enhancement or how to get the most out of the hottest new technology innovation. All of these ideas get lumped together in a pipeline. Not just an innovation pipeline, but a pipeline of ideas that may turn into value propositions and experiments, and find themselves on the backlog of delivery teams. This pipeline process can involve all the roles and responsibilities throughout an organization to run a relay. It involves people from strategy, finance, operations, IT, product, business change, HR. Too often teams and departments are judged individually for performance, rather than how well the work is flowing end to end. When we watch the runners, we miss the opportunity to focus on getting our best ideas into the market most quickly. It doesn’t really matter how efficient each runner is if the end to end isn’t as fast as it could be. One way to improve this is to reduce the number of hand-offs by creating cross-functional teams.


Do you know the high-level flow of work in your organization and how long it takes for ideas to move through the pipeline?