Value Stream Mapping

How to Unlock the Strategic Value of Value Stream Management?

In Value Stream by Soumya Menon

Value Stream Management (VSM) has emerged as one of the key trends in the software delivery world and is the most misconstrued term from its strategic importance. Enterprise leaders who have heavily invested in digital transformation and scaling their DevOps and Agile initiatives have found VSM to be the solution to challenges in enterprise-wide implementation, and it is imperative that they get it right.

The concept of VSM and the practice of value stream mapping is not new. In theory, VSM allows companies to empower teams with tools, governance, and analytics — identifying and managing value streams in software delivery to build products better and faster. Enterprises are using value stream mapping to gain insights into work items,user stories and other artifacts that are delivered to customers, tracking them all the way back upstream to the business. It enables visualization into the software development pipeline pointing out indicators of the speed and quality of the product through the entire pipeline.

But how do you break through the hype and unlock the strategic advantage of VSM in an enterprise, which goes beyond software delivery? It is essential that value stream mapping goals are aligned with larger business goals. Have companies been able to adopt VSM properly? Lance Knight, SVP and GM, ConnectALL wrote in his recent article for TechBeacon that a majority of companies have been failing in meeting their value stream mapping goals even after a decade of value stream activity in software development. He has listed out four key reasons that have led to this failure and recommends that companies “forge ahead with process, tool, and team integration and not shy away from defect resolution because it makes release cycles take longer. Be relentless in your advocacy for VSM that addresses all the fat in the value stream, no matter where it occurs.”

Forge ahead with process, tool, and team integration and not shy away from defect resolution because it makes release cycles take longer. Be relentless in your advocacy for VSM that addresses all the fat in the value stream, no matter where it occurs.

Lance Knight, SVP and GM, ConnectALL

Key indicators of a strategic value stream management solution

So what do you look for while taking a strategic approach to value stream management? Here are some indicators of a well-planned end-to-end VSM solution that provides transparency into the processes of software product development.

  • Complete governance: Allowing companies to become better at releasing software and enhancing the practice of better communication, collaboration, integration, and automation among developers and IT operations. Intuitive governance capabilities that can be replicated across products and value streams helps companies manage and administer at scale.
  • Smooth and seamless integration of applications and tools: Integration of applications and tools that enable bidirectional flow of data, and an integration that fits into every value stream regardless the level of automation is critical to VSM. Integration coupled with insights and visualization through the software development processes and tracking metrics and success is key to a strategic approach to VSM.
  • Powerful insights and visualizations: A detailed breakdown of every item in the software delivery process (resources, project status, and quality information) that enables process improvements (quality and predictable releases) and the value returned to the business in terms of revenue, cost savings, and competitive advantage.
  • Data and metrics management: One of the key elements of VSM is strategically using data and metrics to build tangible insights that can be understood by software development and delivery teams to improve quality of software delivery. Defining measurement criterias is key — what are the key metrics, appropriate questions and desired answers, and how to analyze data.

It is important that enterprises think of VSM solutions that provide visibility across the whole delivery process and align it with their DevOps, Agile, or ALM initiatives. There are hundreds of companies out there in the VSM space offering such solutions, but it is critical to find the right partner to help you execute your value stream mapping goals to produce seamless results, by connecting your people, processes, and teams.

Write to us to find out more about how our experts can help you with your value stream mapping goals.

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