Earlier today I listened to Liz Keogh describe Feature Injection and state that “Feature Injection is a useful model but it does not work in practice”. The Feature Injection Liz describes is nothing like the Feature Injection tools I work with. The one Liz describes is a way of breaking down projects.
To differentiate them, from now one, I’ll refer to the one I use as “Value Mapping”**. I will also describe how you can use it relating to the Cynefin framework.
The key differentiator in Cynefin is between outcomes that are certain and outcomes that can only be known in retrospect.
If you are dealing with a product where the user has choice as to whether they use it, you are almost certainly in the complex or chaotic quadrant. In complex, you need multiple safe to fail experiments.
Feature Injection Value Mapping can help by forcing you to look at the value to the user and the organisation. Once the value is better understood, you can identify a number of options (hypotheses) to deliver that value (Those multiple safe to fail experiments). You can then use feature injection Value Mapping to identify the dependencies needed to deliver the value and the options to deliver them. Value Mapping in this usage is very similar to Impact Mapping.
If you are dealing with a product where the user has no choice to whether they use it, you are probably in the complicated quadrant where enterprise software hangs out. You can use
feature injection Value Mapping to help the user find the value and then get them to draw the output they need from the system to deliver the value. You can then use Feature Injection Value Mapping to identify the delivery options. One extra point, in enterprise software land you often do not want to specify the user group in advance.
From experience (been using it for a decade now), people on projects tend to zoom in on complicated problems like clever maths and stuff. Value Mapping is great for quickly surfacing complex issues such as necessary changes to business practices. Complicated problems are much easier to risk manage than complex ones… you just need to do analysis or find the right expert.
** A name that Dan North came up with.