Babushka of value

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Russian Dolls.jpg

…product development, in the broadest sense.

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You want a sustainable, ever evolving flow of value creating activities. Flowing Products from Concept to Cash, a Value Stream Map Backbone.


Design Principles:

  • done for upstream equals ready for downstream
  • downstream defines interface for upstream in collaboration with upstream


Create and groom an ever evolving minimal set of quality filters in a value stream.

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In short:

Fix the process, not the people.

Each maturity level includes and transcends all previous levels, just like a babushka doll.

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Babushka of Value.png

PDF with example on the right.


Metaphore unto ready to build is the school system: Nursery School → Elementary School → High School → University.

In the right conditions and within constraints, items develop, unfold, mature in every phase until they are ready for the next. Items ready for the next phase are done in the current.

Nursery School

Elementary School

Junior High School


Ready to Poker

Read to Build

Ready to Ship


  • Any input: wild ideas, brainwaves, anything.
  • Item matches release goals.
  • Item is aligned with key stakeholders on features, functions and visuals.

ready to ship, a.k.a. definition of done.


  • Collect and maybe categorize input.
  • Analysts decompose.
  • User Experience Expert researches context, characteristics and criteria.
  • Business Analyst identifies business alignment needs.
  • Elaborate item details.
  • Refine acceptance criteria to almost done.
  • Start UE pre-work (wireframes, visual mocks, story boards).
  • Review legal and compliance issues.
  • Identify candidates for Release Planning and Sprint Planning.
  • Estimate implementation effort.
  • Converse and converge on significant estimation gaps.
  • Test design.
  • Technical design, development and implementation.
  • Integration.
  • Architectural spikes.
  • Technological spikes.
  • Hardening.
  • Packaging.
  • Publishing.