Every truth about value stream management

Every Truth You Need to Know About Value Stream Management

In ConnectALL, Value Stream Management by Soumya Menon

Every year, the software industry is pumped with 10-15 buzzwords. From Big Data, Distributed Cloud, and Artificial Intelligence to Machine Learning, DevOps and Everything as a Service, we have witnessed some of these buzzwords turning into full blown products and services. However, there are some actual practices that are not buzzwords and have been around for decades. One such is Value Stream Management.

For several years, ConnectALL’s thought leaders have been talking about how Value Stream Management (VSM), a lean practice, is not new. In fact, every business is applying this at some level or the other while delivering software to their customer — whether they realize it or not. Yes, VSM came from the manufacturing field and was tried and tested in the software industry. However, it has evolved and grown to aid businesses in achieving their goals.

In some of our earlier articles, we’ve talked about how VSM has been misinterpreted and misunderstood. We have highlighted through talks, webinars, and write-ups what VSM is not and what VSM actually means.

[Also, read Five Truths About Value Stream Management Every Organization on a Digital Transformation Must Know and listen to the podcast]

Here are a few things you need to know about VSM and what you need to forget and relearn:

Value Stream Management is being touted as Value Management

As defined by Gemba Academy,  “A value stream can be defined as all the steps — both value-added and non-value-added — required to take a product or service from its raw materials into the waiting arms of a happy customer.” Value stream management is about managing the way you deliver value. According to Taiichi Ohno, father of the Toyota Production System, “All we are doing is looking at the timeline from the moment a customer gives us an order to the point when we collect the cash. And we are reducing that timeline by removing the non-value-added wastes.”

Value Management is everything that businesses are selling as VSM — Value Management is concerned with the creation of sustainable value, either at project, product, process, organizational or social level. It is concerned with improving and sustaining a desirable balance between the needs and wants of stakeholders and the resources needed to satisfy them. A business like yours may need a VSM platform that offers you both VSM and value management.

[Want to understand the difference between the two and why VSM platforms need to offer you both? Watch this talk by Lance Knight, Value Management or Value Stream Management: This is the Question]

Value Stream Management is not a feature

Contrary to what popular belief, value stream management is a human endeavor. No tool or platform can “do” it for you. Most new entries into the VSM space are only focused on one small part of the value stream as an add-on feature of an existing product. Value stream management is a human-driven continuous improvement strategy that connects the needs of the customer and leadership with the needs of the business and technical operational groups to ensure predictable delivery outcomes. Across our industry, folks are hoping that someone can swoop in and give them the perfect tool, solution, platform, miracle that will fix their software delivery problems. We are hoping that there is a company out there that can offer up the silver bullet that will “do” value stream management for us. But does that really exist?

[Want to get a deeper understanding about this? Watch Do You Believe Value Stream Management is a Feature

What Value Stream Management isn’t

Value stream management…

  • isn’t new
  • isn’t just about the value 
  • isn’t just about value stream mapping
  • isn’t a defined process
  • isn’t just metrics
  • isn’t a tool or a platform
  • isn’t the same thing as DevOps, or Agile, or Scrum, or lean, or kanban
  • isn’t just about a person
  • isn’t just project management
  • isn’t complicated
[Watch What You Say About Value Stream Management to learn more about how VSM should be communicated as you’re seeking to promote it]

An ideal VSM practice enables you to:

  1. See your value stream — Visualize the people, processes, and technology
  1. Measure your value stream — Capture the most impactful metrics in real time
  1. Automate your value stream — Connect all of your tools to optimize software delivery

Start your VSM initiative by mapping your value stream and laying out everything you do and you want to see. Sign up for the complimentary Value Stream Designer and contact us when you are ready to go to the next step and launch your VSM initiative full-fledged. Want to connect with our team for a demo, a workshop or assessment? Contact us today.