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Software innovation driving business value has been the main point of focus for organizations over the years. Although executive leadership has led the business aspect for a long time, it necessarily didn’t have to delve into the software development side of it. However, as times change, high business stakes and rapidly growing digital maturity require executive leadership to step into the world of software and ensure continuous delivery of value to customers.
Optimizing Business transformations and accelerating software innovation across enterprises with carefully designed IT strategies has become the need of the hour. As the software world keeps changing constantly, IT strategies in businesses require more focused attention from executive leaders. Development and IT need to be aligned for executing innovative ideas smoothly and bringing about optimal value outputs. New strategies must be iterative approaches toward better collaborations, visibility, automation, and responsiveness.
In this article, we will talk about value stream management and how it is a leap toward enterprise leadership.
What is Value Stream Management?
Value stream management is a lean business practice that:
- Enables management of dependencies across a complex organization
- Provides insights into breaking dependencies for optimizing the flow
- Supports the transition to agility in working methods
- Enables automated and continuous auditability and compliance
Value stream management allows enterprises to view the software delivery life cycle through the lens of customer experiences. So, it facilitates better alignment with business objectives along with enhanced scalability of DevOps and Agile transformations.
Value stream management, as a practice, helps:
- Identify the value of software development efforts, resources, and delivery efforts
- Improve value flow to the organization
- Teams to focus more on what works and what doesn’t
- Make processes more visible to drive more value
How is Value Stream Management Related to DevOps?
DevOps has been highly transformative for many organizations and has driven innovation quotient along with faster release cycles under a collaborative environment for a long time. Effective value stream management can be considered as a natural by-product of the DevOps ecosystem.
Integrating the DevOps culture with value stream management can significantly improve productivity and reduce costs. A symbiotic relationship between the two can consistently deliver positive results for organizations. Executive leadership in regard to optimal implementation of value stream management is necessary, along with business value and customer satisfaction.
How Does Value Stream Mapping Work?
Value stream mapping allows organizations to analyze their current state of processes and identify ways to build better processes in the future to help eliminate waste and prioritize customers. By measuring the right metrics, teams can identify the loopholes in pipelines that hinder efficiency and value from being maximized.
Implementing value stream management is all about:
- Creating a map of the existing production state, which helps you capture the existing production process state in its entirety.
- Creating a map of the ideal future state, which captures your aspirational and theoretical plans about future processes that may help deliver great value.
- Devising an action plan, which consists of carefully designed steps to take the existing production state to the ideal future state.
Value stream management needs to focus on optimizing the workflows of products and services horizontally. This calls for a value stream management platform that enables different roles to manage value streams and track and analyze them from end to end through a consistent methodology and value orientation.
The value stream management platforms must address the following requirements:
For Business Leaders
- Provide real-time insights into investments
- Understand, track, and report about the value delivered by said investments in order to prioritize effectively
- Help leaders define and articulate high-priority initiatives as actionable deliverables
For Technical Leaders
- Single unified backlogs
- Visibility into the status and objectives of the business
- Agile management efforts are directly driven by investment plans
- End-to-end traceability of value streams for seamlessly connecting strategic investment plans, business objectives, funding, and critical results for providing better visibility into dependencies, the scope of growth, risks, and funding changes
Implementing Optimized Value Stream Management
The following steps can help organizations optimize and successfully implement value stream management:
Step 1: Define Value Streams
Identify your value streams. You can only do so by thoroughly understanding how your organization creates value, delivers it, the origin of an investment idea, and when your customers receive it in the form of value. Carefully identifying your value streams sets the foundation for all the planning, determining objectives, key results, and funding for value stream management.
Step 2: Align with Business Strategies
Value stream management platforms can ensure the easy alignment of business strategies with value delivery after you have identified your value streams. To begin with the alignment, negotiations are essential among business leaders and delivery teams. Talking about business, innovation and return on investment (ROI) on new services or products are imperative. However, for development, fulfilling goals effectively & meeting business demands within a short time span and low money investments are essential. Through such effective negotiation, alignment can be seamless, and stakeholders can use well-defined visibility to deal with challenges like trade-offs.
Step 3: Allow Flexibility and Visibility
Teams must have visibility into common goals and flexibility to work with tools or methodologies they’re comfortable with so that agile development can be as scalable as possible. With value stream management, teams are enabled to aggregate all metrics and data irrespective of what the toolchain comprises, thus, enabling insights based on one single source. This is achieved via normalization of the definitions across the various tool sets. As a result, all stakeholders can understand what value needs to be delivered and how their individual job roles contribute to the said value delivery.
Step 4: Determine Optimal Ways of Working and Execution
It would be best if you determined optimal ways of working and executing effectively, which implies allowance of transparency and visibility for building trust or reducing expectations mis-match. Teams can effectively adapt to changes in business strategies without letting them adversely affect their work if they’re provided with transparency, visibility, and one single source of truth.
Step 5: Measure Success and Iterate for Future Improvement
It is critical for delivery leaders to work for measuring success and iterating with their teams. Teams must be empowered to access meaningful data for:
- Observing challenges
- Gaining valuable insights for continuous improvement
It allows the team to communicate results, gain more learnings, and improve for the future. This is to ensure continuous delivery of value to the customers.
Why is Value Stream Management Important?
Value stream management has several benefits that justify its significance for a business:
- It determines where the value is and is not
- It identifies and eliminates wastage or bottlenecks to improve efficiency
- It improves effectiveness by enabling teams to define and articulate ideas in a better manner for maximizing value delivery to customers
- It improves product quality
- It helps teams boost the velocity of value streams by synchronizing resources and capacities with business priorities
- It defines the contribution of each team to the value of a product or a service
- It encourages cross-team collaboration
- It boosts alignment by providing a new way of fostering trust and enhancing decision-making to bring teams together
Innovation is rapidly changing the software development and delivery landscape, so visibility is essential to drive success, define business benefits, and deliver exceptional customer experiences. Lack of visibility prevents autonomy for Agile and DevOps teams, while comprehensive visibility allows better collaborations and increased outputs.
A practical and beneficial Value Stream Management solution connects your network of tools and teams for defining Thought leadership and delivery of software at the enterprise level. Business leaders can resolve their visibility problems, provide products & services faster, and remain compliant.
Qentelli’s AI based product, TED is a value-stream intelligence system that plugs into SDLC ecosystem and brings data and insights from various tools into one real-time dashboard. TED can currently track over 150+ metrics that span entire SDLC, including development, quality, build, deployment, and production metrics. It works as a decision support system by delivering greater, deeper, and customized insights into data. It is powered by trained machine learning algorithms that can detect various kinds of anomalies in data indicating opportunities or threats even before they arise. TED also offers prediction capabilities providing businesses with an insightful glimpse of the future.
TED offers integrations with popular tools that expose data through REST APIs. Custom pulling intervals can be defined to fetch data into the TED platform, making data visualization a breeze. We understand that every engineering team is distinct, and their choice of tools is unique. Get in touch with us and let us know your most significant challenges that comes with value streaming, and we will help implement a robust dashboard that tracks data from code commitment to Deployment and Monitoring. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org