Organizations should move customer requests outside of the product roadmap, which is managed in development workflows, and into their own workstream that is executed based on predefined workflows. This will allow product and technology teams to manage the development of new solutions in a more predictable and reliable manner.
Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) recommends two distinct workstreams owned by operations and product management:
Customer requests related to service support should go through a Trouble Ticket (TT) workflow via the OVS to report, assign, and resolve issues. The OVS is "the sequence of activities needed to deliver a product or service to a customer." All customer requests should be fulfilled in predefined workflows with an expectation regarding the percentage of technology's capacity required to support this value stream.
Product management will have insight into the requests to influence their product roadmap, but they do not own this workstream. The technology team should work directly with the customer teams to fulfill these requests. If there is not a predefined workflow that fulfills customer requests, then product management needs to better define the existing product and workflows so that the responsibility for executing these requests can be moved outside of their hands.
Customer requests related to sales or new features should be directed to product management via the DVS for backlog consideration to develop solutions in a future release. The DVS is "the sequence of activities to develop and support the solutions that will be used by Operational Value Stream (OVS)." The DVS starts with a feature request and then focuses on defining, building, validating, and releasing a solution to drive incremental value.
In order to effectively manage the DVS, all product releases should clearly define any additional workflows or processes required for operational support.
By moving customer requests outside of the product roadmap and into their own workstreams, organizations can improve the predictability and reliability of new solution development. This will also allow product and technology teams to focus on their core competencies: product innovation and service delivery.
- Regularly communicate and collaborate between the OVS and DVS teams to ensure that customer needs are being met and that new solutions are being developed in a way that is aligned with operational requirements.
- Use automation and other tools to streamline the OVS and DVS processes.
- Invest in training and development for OVS and DVS team members to ensure that they have the skills and knowledge they need to be successful.