On many teams, the work is “add features to this codebase.” We congratulate teams for moving JIRA tickets from “defined” to “delivered.”
Meanwhile, the value to the business depends on value to the customers, or to people or software who in turn provide value to customers. And when value comes as software, its magic is what it lets people do that they couldn’t otherwise.
To find the value in our work, ask, “What capability does our software provide, and to whom?” Then if your team’s software is internal-facing, ask “What capability does that let other teams provide?” and keep going until you get to people.
For instance, maybe I work on provisioning software that activates mobile phones on the network. Then my team provides an activation capability to the eCommerce team. That team provides customers with the capability of turning on new mobile phones.
The value my team provides is that activation capability (among others). As a product team, we can ask: is activation reliable? is it fast? is it easy to use correctly? does it communicate well about what happened? We can balance the needs of the eCommerce team against the customer service software team that provides capabilities to representatives and the point-of-sale team that offers capabilities to phone-store salespeople.