Dependency Mapping

A large number of coloured cables plugged into a machine.

Recently, I published an article where I discussed the concept of dependency as a proxy for complexity. I also tried to show that complexity is the biggest aspect to consider when attempting to improve the flow of value. This is all part of a concept I call Dependency Mapping.

Following publication of the article, I had a few people who read it on LinkedIn reach out for some advice on actually doing it in their place of work. In this article I will dig deeper into the process by which we can start to map out dependencies. With the map completed, we can then work to remove them.

Dependency maps are going to be messy as they try and convey a huge amount of information. We’ll aim small, and then offer some suggestions for improvement from there.

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Why complexity is killing your business

dependent adjective

de· pen· dent | \ di-ˈpen-dənt  \

determined or conditioned by another

If you ask 10 people why Digital Transformations fail, you’ll get 10 different answers, often with phrases like “buy-in” and “culture” thrown around. Although there isn’t a simple answer to this question, I’d like to talk about one that often gets ignored. Dependencies.

You have a dependency if something is contingent on another, here are some examples:

  • “Getting this work complete is contingent on the tests passing.”
  • “We need the platform team to spin up a test environment before we can run the tests.”
  • “We need to have sign-off before we can allocate time to create the instance.”
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