To survive and succeed in today’s digital era, organizations are constantly reshaping their software development methodology from a conventional, project-dominated model to a product delivery model. Instead of evaluating performance by completing tasks on time and within the prescribed budget, organizations are moving towards a product delivery model. This shifts the concentration of the team towards delivering meaningful software that creates value for customers and drives business outcomes.
In many organizations, there is no collaboration and project visibility between project teams and other departments. Without collaboration and communication, organizations are not able to aggregate data from product and service lines. In these organizations, enterprise agility, continuous delivery, and digital transformation are conceptual, not practical. For large organizations, adapting to meeting customer needs and implementing customer value through delivery and release processes becomes difficult.
There was a time when success in Information Technology (IT) was product-driven, but time has changed. Success is measured through the value and experiences of customers. In the process of enterprise digital transformation, Value Stream Mapping (VSM) acts as a valuable business resource. Organizations are now focusing on offering value to customers through the delivery process. VSM helps in solving and measuring business values in the project delivery lifecycle. It offers project visibility and helps to enhance cooperation by helping cross-functional teams.
In order to understand value stream mapping, there is a need to understand what a “value stream” is. In simple terms, a “value stream” is a series of steps followed by every company to deliver the product or service to customers according to their want or need. VSM helps organizations to get a better understanding of these steps. It is used to improve any process where there are repeatable steps and provides a structured visualization of key steps.
Value Stream Mapping in Software Development
In manufacturing industries, VSM refers to evaluating the current state of the processes in which inputs become outputs. Here a map with symbols and arrows is used to visualize the flow of materials and information. It visualizes active and inactive times, handoffs, and processes with repeatable steps. But in software development, the nature of VSM differs slightly since the inputs and outputs are not tangible objects but rather pieces of deployable value created by developers.
Manufacturing industries and software development organizations have different inputs and outputs, but there are a lot of similarities in the product development lifecycle. Like the manufacturing industry, the software development industry follows a predictable series of steps to turn raw materials into a finished product. A planning process is followed by execution, testing, deployment, measurement, and maintenance.
Software development is an industry in which business requirements are often changing, and speed is a significant competitive advantage. VSM can help teams optimize their workflow, maximize efforts, and ensure the delivery of high-quality products in a fast and adaptable way.
VSM can be easily and meaningfully applied to software development because it follows a repeatable and predictable process with a clear transition between steps. When VCM is applied in software development, project teams can use it to enhance communications with other teams, reduce handoff delays, and increase delivery speeds. In addition, team coordination is required for continuous integration / continuous delivery (CI/CD). VSM can also be used in Lean processes to recognize and remove inefficiencies and improve work productivity.
The Benefits of Value Stream Mapping
With the help of VSM, organizations can easily identify waste, barriers, bottlenecks, and unnecessary steps to boost the rate of work and maximize value. VSM encourages teamwork, improves communication, and emphasizes team activity, including continuous improvement in the organization.
The purpose of lean methodology is to create a seamless flow of work towards generating value for the customer. VSM helps organizations by providing a clear picture of how work moves through the organization.
Though it can be a complex and time-consuming process, VSM helps organizations increase efficiency and ROI. It needs detailed insights into the examined process to be truly effective and remains theoretical if it is not provided with adequate and accurate data from all collaborators. VSM is an extremely useful tool for any organization undertaking a lean transformation because it offers high-level insights into organizational efficiency that are difficult to discover without a collaborative effort.