In the fast-evolving software delivery landscape, technology products are continuously being updated to drive increased user engagement, speed up time-to-market, improve customer experiences, and reduce cost. Unfortunately, even after investing considerable time and resources in IT transformations, companies still experience misalignment in business vision, strategies, and goals. While they may have implemented new ways of working, such as Agile and DevOps there is often a disconnect between software delivery and overall business value.
The end-to-end flow of business value to customers drives decisions, strategy, and execution for most businesses. Understanding the entire value stream is critical to realizing the organization’s revenue goals. With this in mind, value stream mapping and value stream management practices help companies pinpoint their end-to-end business processes.
Value stream mapping and value stream management are a form of lean thinking. Instead of merely doing things simply, they attempt to find out how to get the most value from each step in a process and how to reduce waste or risk. Value stream mapping can help companies see where waste appears in their processes, allowing them to eliminate as many unnecessary steps and ensure all steps add value.
What is Value Stream Mapping?
As defined by AIxOutlook,
“Value Stream Mapping (VSM) is the process of creating a condensed visual representation of the flow of material or informational assets from the point of conception, through production and utilization, ending at delivery. Used primarily in the logistics and supply chain sectors, it helps an organization identify aspects of operational workflow that are necessary and value-adding.
Value stream mapping can be used to help any organization make more efficient use of its resources. The process of mapping a value stream depicts how resources are allocated in an organization’s product or service, along with the cost and benefit to both the company and society.
What is Value Stream Management?
Value stream management is a software development process that integrates people, processes, and technology to map out the entire flow of business value through an enterprise’s development pipeline. By optimizing delivery performance and eliminating waste, organizations can increase efficiency while increasing quality. With value stream management software, organizations can visualize the entire software delivery process from thinking to testing and delivery, keeping tabs on KPIs for progress and accuracy.
Value stream management must be implemented at the source and throughout the value creation process to deliver a high-quality service. This can be done by breaking down organizational silos, implementing cross-functional team collaboration to optimize resources, embedding governance in the software delivery process to ensure continual improvement in Agile and DevOps methods, and automating workflows.
What makes value stream mapping different from value stream management?
Value stream mapping allows organizations to identify where the value is created and where it is not. This can help determine how each team contributes to the actual value of a particular product or service. It also improves productivity and business efficiency by identifying waste, pain points, and bottlenecks, encouraging cross-functional collaboration, and enhancing product or service quality.
With value stream management, organizations can measure their actual lead time, cycle time, and throughput against realistic goals. They can also more effectively align their efforts across the organization to achieve continuous improvement.
In today’s world of virtual teams, remote work, and big data, businesses need a unique capability that is driven by data and their ability to analyze it. As we enter the next age of software development, value stream management empowers businesses to make data-driven decisions and more efficient investments.
Value stream mapping and management are valuable tools in driving business value, creating higher engagement, and enabling faster innovation. By examining how work is performed and identifying opportunities for improvement, organizations can gain clarity on the current state and its processes. It allows organizations to visualize the flow and rapidly identify system constraints. It opens up the door to a more holistic view of how an organization delivers value.
Value stream management and value stream mapping can help organizations overcome adoption barriers by creating a value-focused conversation. To truly maximize tooling value, businesses must look at the customer journey end-to-end rather than just technology.