The Holy Grail — how to build Flow Metrics

Tasktop Technologies
4 min readMar 28, 2019

To paraphrase the immortal words of Agile transformation guru Jon Smart from Deloitte, what organizations really want from any transformation is why everyone is talking about “Better Value Safer Sooner”. That’s it. Tangible, measurable improvement from where you were/are to where you want to be. That’s Flow Metrics; they’re the Holy Grail for any enterprise that wants to survive and thrive in the Age of Digital Disruption.

Flow Metrics — as defined in the Flow Framework™ created by Tasktop CEO and founder Dr. Mik Kersten — enable enterprises to finally gain real insight into the value they’re creating for the business through software (the core component of their digital transformation).

Flow Metrics are not about answering questions like “where’s my thing?” or “when will the project be delivered”? Project and Product Managers should have those answers. Flow Metrics are a tool for the CIO and IT leadership to help their organization accelerate delivery by continuously removing the barriers to flow, which are slowing the entire system down.

For many moons, measuring the value and impact of software delivery on the business has been like gauging the direction and strength of the wind with a wet fingertip. Sure, the cooling skin can give indication of wind’s behavior in that very moment, but there’s no real way to know if a thunderstorm is coming without consulting the TV weather forecast. And what about all the other conditions?

Flow Metrics mark a significant move away from fingertip measurement, i.e., traditional performance metrics such as the number of lines of code, story points or defects, deployments per day, and so on. As Dominica DeGrandis, our Director of Digital Transformation, emphasizes in ‘ The 5 Best Metrics You’ve Never Met ‘, “There are bugs that are not worth fixing and code that is not worth maintaining. These old-school performance metrics represent activities and not outcomes. These metrics tell organizations very little about the true impact on business goals.”

The 5 Best Metrics You’ve Never Met

Flow Metrics, however, measure how fast work is going and where it’s slowing down for each individual product value stream, and correlated with business outcomes such as:

Crucially, these powerful metrics abstract technical minutiae to elevate the conversation to terms that both IT and business stakeholders can understand — namely, business value. What customer value are you delivering? New features, improved quality, reduced risk or technical debt (future impediments to acceleration). At last, enterprises have the means to deliver “Better Value Safter Soon”.

In this e-book, “ Getting insight into Flow with Tasktop Flow Metrics”, explains what Flow Metrics are, why they’re so crucial to your immediate and future business success, and why integrated value streams are vital in enabling you to access the end-to-end data you need to create the metrics. Topics addressed include

  • How Value Stream Integration accelerates and optimizes flow of value from software
  • How value acceleration demands true end-to-end reporting
  • How models standardize value for IT and business to bridge the gap between them
  • Introduction to the four Flow Items, the core type of value pulled by the customer
  • Introduction to Flow Metrics to improve data-driven decision making
  • How to get started with Flow Metrics
  • How Tasktop can help you on your Flow journey

Start your journey into Flow and Value Stream Management

Transformations can be tough, especially when you don’t have clear insight as to where your organization should start and what will provide your company with immediate and long-term success. This is why Tasktop has developed a number of service offerings to ensure you’re not only educated in the importance of value stream management, but you’re equipped to make significant steps towards your organization’s transformation journey.

Visualize your value stream (with one of Tasktop’s Value Stream Architects): This free one-hour consulting session will help you identify the value streams within your organization today, visualize the flow of work, and help identify opportunities to make your value stream more tangible. Learn more.

Introduction to value streams (with Brian Ashcraft): This two-hour training course enables you on the fundamentals of getting started with a VSM initiative, including common attributes, an improvement methodology, analytical methods, and a tooling assessment. After attending training, you will have the knowledge to become a VSM ambassador at your organization or agency. Learn more.

Flow 101 Workshop (with Dominica DeGrandis): Flow is the continuous smooth and fast delivery of business value, and is the first of the three foundational principles underpinning DevOps. This two-day hands-on workshop shows you how to enable flow in your organization using lean practices. The workshop is best suited for teams engaged in Agile or DevOps transformations who are looking to leverage Value Stream thinking to make their transformations more successful. This gives teams the opportunity to discuss and determine prioritization policies, workflow design, and metrics used to measure team performance. Learn more.

Written by: Patrick Kennedy Anderson

Originally published at on March 28, 2019.



Tasktop Technologies

Value Stream Management platform. Experts in moving from Project to Product. Helping enterprises to master software at scale and thrive in the Age of Digital.