Book Review: Project to Product

There are different vocabularies employed in the discipline of Project Management. This is one reason why PMI exists, to try and help the breadth of the discipline use a common language. In my library of project vocabulary I’m familiar with the following:

  • Army Vocabulary
  • PMI’s Project Vocabulary
  • Agile
  • DevOps

One thing different than PMI’s project vocabulary and that used in agile is the term used for the deliverable at the end of the project. In project management that deliverable is the project. In Agile, that deliverable is the product. The words sound similar enough but the distinction is significant. PMI’s focus is on the process that created the deliverable, while Agile is focused on the value of the deliverable to the product owner (stakeholder/business).

In Project to Product Mik Kersten drives home the important distinction between the two and how important it is to organizational survival to adopt a product focused mentality.

As tech giants and startups disrupt every market, those who master large-scale software delivery will define the economic landscape of the 21st century, just as the masters of mass production defined the landscape in the 20th. Unfortunately, business and technology leaders are woefully ill-equipped to solve the problems posed by digital transformation. At the current rate of disruption, half of S&P 500 companies will be replaced in the next ten years. A new approach is needed.

In Project to Product, Value Stream Network pioneer and technology business leader Dr. Mik Kersten introduces the Flow Framework—a new way of seeing, measuring, and managing software delivery. The Flow Framework will enable your company’s evolution from project-oriented dinosaur to product-centric innovator that thrives in the Age of Software. If you’re driving your organization’s transformation at any level, this is the book for you.


This was a way cool book to read!!!

In general it’s easy to see smaller deliverables as products, one of the messages this book is that it teaches you to see all your deliverables as products–even big ones. This book is about connecting it to business value at scale honoring lean, TOC, six sigma and showing how the understood foundation can be leveraged for the unknown future.

Photo by Pixabay on

On the fourth floor of our building sits a very large puzzle with the last piece outside of the boarder. It’s labeled with someone’s name on it waiting for them to return and finish the puzzle. This book is the missing piece in understanding the frustration with project management and why it’s processes can leave those who remain wanting even after the checklist is complete.

This book ranks high on professional application, but also has personal application as well in helping to see stuff as products capable of more than just satisfying their initial value point.

Pull Request

Pull Request (1)

I’ve been around software guys for years and have heard the phrase pull request long enough that I was embarrassed I didn’t exactly know what it meant.  I had a general idea, but not one that was clear in my mind.  I also knew that this was one of those technical questions where I would grok it better if I talked to someone in person.   So, I found one of the smartest guys in the building when few people were around, drew out a kanban board (above) and asked him how a pull request was done.

I got my answer, but to my surprise when I searched for images none of them had anything to do with kanban boards.  They viewed pull requests as off-track activities that needed to get pulled back into the main branch.

That’s interesting, I thought, because that understanding means that items on the main branch wouldn’t go through the review process that is a pull request.  That doesn’t jive with the reality that I’ve heard pull requests being used on main branches and appendages of software development for some time.  I think the definition needs to be updated, and the diagrams need some competition.  So, here’s my contribution.  It’s a kanban board view of a pull request.