There is a subtle different between these two concepts.
A valuable activity may be a design document, a user story, or even a conversation. Value is what the customer is after and that’s working software (or products). Everything else is waste!
Let’s look back to the waterfall days, we spent a lot of time making sure we did design docs whilst filling in the required diagrams, screen shots, then signing these off. The quality of the document was paramount, we hardly ever asked if it was valuable!
- Lean principles run on “just enough, just in time”. This is key, the “just enough” part is focusing in on the valuable activity
- A core agile principle is “working software over comprehensive documentation”, again you can see the focus on valuable activities
So you can now see the hidden meaning in why these principles exist. ALWAYS question if your activities are valuable. Understand that at the end of the day value is what you’re really after.
When you review your processes consider these questions:
- are you passing the right information around to help you build your software?
- are you slowing down the passing of important information?
- is the way you pass that information optimised? think email, presentation, document etc.
You could draw a value stream map to see each of your process steps then ask the questions above on each one…