Lisa Long
Product Owner, formerly Skype Product Process team, Norway



How do you make sure your resources are working on the highest priority items in your strategy? What happens when the execution plan changes to address market changes? Can you rapidly redeploy critical resources in an orderly manner? These were the questions facing the Skype organization in a period of rapid expansion and increasing market competition. To resolve this, the product process team developed Delivery Mapping. This system enabled mapping the high level strategic areas down to tasks for individual contributors, allowing for a better understanding of where resources were being allocated. As a quarterly process, it allowed teams to quickly shift direction in response to market changes. In the later stages, the entire process was encapsulated in a custom build of the Jira application, enabling individual contributors to see towards which initiative their work contributed. This meant coordinating everything from senior management alignment down to the Jira tools used for developers to most efficiently map resources and execute on the delivery plan.


Skype faced challenges in allocating work efficiently to its 172 teams that made up the Skype product. Originally, Skype would have senior management meet for 9 days in three different locations to plan for the coming quarter. The preparation and output for this planning was considered unclear and inefficient as a means of allocating resources, with no system to follow up the delivery plan. I worked as part of a team that deployed theory of constraints to allocate work in a more efficient manner on a quarterly basis, including customizing the Jira application. Once the system was in place, we reduced the senior management meeting down to a two hour video conference call and the delivery plan was mapped in Jira for anyone to access and measure progress.

Target Audience:

Mid level agile coaches- familiarity with Theory of Constraints, senior stakeholder management, and high level planning processes

Walkaround workshop


Workshop description:
The purpose of the workshop is to teach participants resource allocation against a prioritized work list. I introduce participants to Unicorn Ltd and welcome them to their allocated teams. We step through the company priorities, and solicit input on potential projects that will meet these goals. From these projects, groups talk to each other to secure estimates of work. Strategic goals are prioritized, and projects associated with those goals are then reviewed one at a time, allocating resources from the available teams. Projects involving constrained teams are eliminated from the work list. The result is a list of projects that optimizes the resource allocation around the strategic priorities.

Lisa Long

Using Theory of Constraints for Developing a Schedule of Work 4.72MB

Walkaround workshop:
Using Theory of Constraints for Developing a Schedule of Work

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