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Value Stream Management Improves Customer Value

Oct 28, 2021 10:37:39 AM By Dan Whiting

Value stream management. Okay, I admit it. I hadn’t heard of this term before - and I have three business degrees. It definitely rings of a B-school term and sounds interesting. I have also listened to Helen Beal’s previous All Day DevOps sessions, so I knew she would be interesting. Side note: she mentioned today that she has presented at every ADDO except one, which she intended to but hoped to present from a rickshaw in Sri Lanka, which ended up not being possible. I think we need the rest of that story. 

Thankfully Helen presented this morning at the 6th annual All Day DevOps conference in a talk entitled Flow Acceleration, Value Realization. Helen was recognized as the Top DevOps Evangelist in 2020 because of her extensive work in the space. She is currently  a DevOps and Ways of Working coach, Chief Ambassador at DevOps Institute and an ambassador for the Continuous Delivery Foundation. Or, as she says, a Herder of Humans (apparently the only one). 

Helen’s presentation laid out the value of value stream management to the software development community - something she is passionate about. So passionate, she helped create, and currently chairs, the Value Stream Management Consortium to “advance stream-centric ways of working in technology teams.” It is based on lean concepts (now there is a B-school term I am familiar with) and is all about taking an idea and delivering value to the customer - and managing that process from idea to delivery. Unlike traditional manufacturing, where an idea is manufactured and reproduced thousands or millions of times, software is continually developed, improved, and delivered. 

In a more technical wording, Forrester defines it as, “a combination of people, processes, and technology that maps, optimizes, visualizes, measures, and governs business value flow through heterogeneous software delivery pipelines from idea through development and into production.” 

Helen walks through the key steps to implement value stream management into your own software development and delivery process, including: identify; organize; map; connect; inspect; adapt; and, vision. 

That looks like a lot to commit to. So, what is the value to your organization? It starts with the fact that value stream management optimizes value flow (value stream health) and realization (customer experience). This leads to optimizing value flow and realization, which results in sublime customer experience, and then delighted customers mean higher organizational performance.

What is the current state of adoption of these methods and what is the impact on organizations? The Value Stream Management Consortium recently released The State of Value Stream Management Report 2021 to answer these questions.  Helen dug into some of the key findings. For instance, value stream management practices are more common in higher-performing organizations. Digging deeper into what it looks like in practice today, they report on what value stream metrics teams measure; when teams inspect flow; cycle, lead, and flow times; when teams obtain data about flow; and, when is the actual value of a new feature measured. Helen talks in more detail about each of these, and, of course, the report provides more metrics, data, insight, and next steps.  

In wrapping up her talk today, Helen observes that, for many organizations, software development and IT are still a cost driver, not a strategic driver. She urges this needs to change and, “We build it. We own it.” 

Interested in learning more? Listen to Helen’s entire 30-minute talk here at All Day DevOps, the world's largest DevOps conference. It is streaming live for 24 hours starting at 3 a.m. ET on October 28, 2021. Founded in 2016, the virtual event gathers more than 25,000 DevOps professionals for free, hands-on education. The All-Day DevOps is a global community of more than 75,000 DevOps practitioners and thought leaders offering free learning, peer-to-peer insights, and networking with professionals worldwide. The community hosts an annual conference, live forums, and ongoing educational experiences online. The 2021 event features a lineup of 180+ speakers in six separate tracks, including CI/CD Continuous Everything, Cultural Transformation, DevSecOps, Government, Modern Infrastructure, and Site Reliability Engineering. All sessions will be available on-demand following the conference. Register online to participate in the 24-hour live, global event on October 28 and to view the session on-demand later.