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In this post:

  • Learn about the Open Practice Library: a collection of tools that can help your team focus on DevOps and product development practices.

  • 10 of the most often viewed tools from the Open Practice Library.

  • An overview of the Mobius Loop iterative process model.


The Open Practice Library has quickly grown in its popularity and has become a trusted resource for anyone wanting to learn ways to get optimal outcomes for their teams. Created in 2016 by the Red Hat Open Innovation Labs team, the library offers various strategies and concepts to focus on DevOps and product development practices. Not sure where to start? We’re highlighting the Library’s top 10 frequently visited tools in this post.

An overview

Ranging from building solid foundations, to introducing discovery and options, and sealing the delivery of any project, the Open Practice Library continues to grow with numerous new entries and additions.

The Open Practice Library contains 155 product life cycle tools, methods, and processes, contributed by 117 people under Creative Commons licenses. In this post, we’ll be taking a look at the top 10 practices visited over the past year, and the value they can bring to your team.

As a quick overview before we begin, the Open Practice Library uses the Mobius Loop as an iterative process model for rapidly developing digital products. The tools, techniques, and concepts are organized around this model:

Under each of these top 10 tools, we note their placement in the mobius loop for your understanding of where in the process that tool will bring the most value.

The top 10 frequently visited Open Practice Library tools

10. User Story Mapping

Target outcome: Create lightweight release plans by assigning value to features.

Made popular in 2008 by Jeff Patton, founder of a consultancy dedicated to training product design practice, User Story Mapping expands upon traditional Agile backlogs by introducing different methods of estimating work effort in any project. 

Represented as part of the "options" segment of the mobius loop, User Story Mapping develops lightweight release plans to drive identification of the outcomes as an Agile release plan. 

Your team will enjoy this interactive session to create a visual map together using drawing paper rolls and markers! This session takes on average around four hours to complete, but the visual representation shows the "big picture," which can help with everyone’s understanding.

9. Opportunity Solution Tree

Target outcome: Bring transparency into the decision-making process through a visual aid.

Created by Terese Torres, a product discovery coach, Opportunity Solution Trees bring transparency into what decisions can be made for the solutions being tested. 

Used in the "discovery" segment of the loop, this concept is a great method of prioritizing user needs, broadens the potential for finding and experimenting with the best ideas, and can define target outcomes. Your team’s product manager will pick a desired outcome, which will let the team come together to discuss opportunities and problem statements. 

After brainstorming several solutions to the opportunities, your team will vote on the solutions with the most success potential, and from there, create experiments using the possible solutions.

8. Everything-as-Code

Target outcome: A robust, consistent, repeatable, and traceable approach to the project from start to finish.

As the name suggests, this concept treats all parts of the system as code. This foundational concept is a key enabler in maximizing the use of the full Mobius Loop, and Everything-as-Code helps ensure a consistent approach to the project from start to finish. 

Storing the entire configuration from bottom to top along with source code in a repository can enable an accurate recreation at the click of a button. 

This practice is traceable, repeatable, tested, and contributes to a team-wide understanding. In addition, server issues or configuration drifts are minimized by using the stored configuration and recreating the server.

7. Social Contract

Target outcome: Enable self accountability through team-derived rules and behaviors.

Another highly popular foundational concept, the Social Contract is created by the team for the team. This simple, yet extremely effective practice helps to enable autonomy and self-accountability by codifying behaviors and expectations as determined by your team. 

Kept highly visible, the contract ensures a clear determination of dynamics and accountability. Even better, the social contract can be modified at any time to account for change or improve upon old practices for the betterment of the team as a whole.

6. Proto-Persona

Target outcome: Create a description of an iterative target user and audience to kickstart the design and building phase of the project.

Have a project in mind, but not sure where to begin? Consider using a proto-persona. 

This persona describes the target users and audience of a product or service based on assumptions to help make decisions quickly. Part of the discovery segment, this practice can launch the design and build phases of a product without getting stuck in the finer details of behaviors. 

As teams collaborate to create their desired persona, this will contribute to shared understanding and prioritization, as well as help minimize knowledge gaps, establish iterative approaches, and identify appropriate user types. However, it is important to continue to validate the persona as research is conducted further.

5. Impact Mapping

Target outcome: Create an engaging, graphical, and strategic planning technique.

Introduced in 2012 by Gojko Adzic, a software delivery consultant and author, Impact Mapping changes the outcome of activities into delivering value, not just delivering features. 

Used as part of discovery, Impact Mapping is highly adaptable to your team's needs—and depending on the scope of the project, can take anywhere from hours to weeks to fully complete.

Though Impact Mapping is easy to incorporate, take the opportunity to do some strategic prep work before beginning sessions so that you can effectively convey the subject to the rest of the team.

4. Lean Value Tree

Target outcome: Create a conceptual tool to align people and initiatives across all levels of business.

A conceptual tool used as part of the discovery phase, a Lean Value Tree is most often used as an enhancement to Lean Portfolio Management

It encourages collaboration based on value delivery and follows a top-down framework. In effect, this breaks down the company’s vision into several strategic goals, allowing your team to define value streams with specific targets outcomes.

3. Affinity Mapping

Target outcome: A visual method for organizing thoughts, ideas, and insights to identify patterns in research.

We’ve all done brainstorming in our lives at some point or another. But what do you do to gather meaningful data from it? 

A very popular foundational concept, Affinity Mapping can uncover patterns, both new and old, and give a sense of where people’s thinking is focused. 

A visual tool through the use of sticky notes, groups will move brainstormed thoughts or user feedback into clusters based on relationships to identify the most common types of ideas within a group. Identifying these higher-level categories of information and ideas is a great way to expand the scope of creative thinking when it comes to problem-solving.

2. Event Storming

Target outcome: Create high-quality models through a rapid interactive approach to business process discovery and design.

Introduced by Alberto Brandolini, a consultant in the information technology field, in 2013, Event Storming is a rapid-paced approach to business process discovery and design that produces quality models covering the scope, the users involved, and initial inventories of components related to the end goals. 

A highly popular tool used in discovery, Event Storming is presentable as an iterative approach that helps communicate technical considerations to non-technical leaders and stakeholders. 

This can empower and enable your team to further explore important questions throughout the process, and Event Storming even be used as an effective method of kickstarting Domain Driven Designs

Collaboration is key as this practice will produce a visual covering of what the team is working towards. Plan ahead for multiple sessions as all team members are encouraged to actively participate.

1. AEIOU Observation Framework

Target outcome: Categorize and interpret observations to improve qualitative research.

Finally, the most popular Open Practice Library tool, the AEIOU Observation Framework! 

Used in the discovery phase, the AEIOU covers the following: Activities, Environments, Interactions, Objects, and Users. This heuristic framework improves your team's observation techniques in documenting and categorizing during field research and usability testing. 

This practice includes a contextual inquiry template that can assist in collecting qualitative data, but it’s highly recommended to have an idea of the research goals in mind before starting using this particular framework. 

Get started

That wraps the top 10 most visited pages in the Open Practice Library over the past year. Learn more by exploring our other Open Practice Library resources.


Open Practice Library series on the Red Hat Blog

virtual collaboration illustration

Learn more about our community-driven collection of exercises for making incremental progress along the product delivery cycle from the full Open Practice Library series: 

 


About the author

Jordan Wright is part of the Services Marketing team, serving as a Technical Writer since 2018. Having started his career at Red Hat in 2015 through Technical Support, Jordan brings a technical aptitude to the various blogs and content he creates and contributes.