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This post is from the VSM blog and has not been updated since the original publish date.

Last Updated Feb 18, 2020 — Value Stream Management Expert

Jumpstart Your Value Stream Management Program With 5 Best Practices

Value Stream Management

For most companies today delivering software rapidly is a top priority. But, getting software out fast is not enough to succeed in our rapidly advancing digital era. It is more crucial than ever to deliver meaningful software that drives business outcomes and customer results. That’s why organizations are shifting their focus from merely producing output to maximizing value delivery by applying Value Stream Management (VSM) to their Agile-plus-DevOps efforts.

VSM is the industry-endorsed approach to mapping software to the business and understanding the value it delivers. It gives organizations deep and clear vision into the impact their software development has on the business and ultimately, the balance sheet. VSM solutions provide complete visibility into the flow of value across the entire software lifecycle so you can measure value delivery, eliminate waste, keep stakeholders informed, and implement process efficiencies. According to a study conducted by Forrester on behalf of CollabNet VersionOne, 95% of enterprises surveyed report interest, near-term plans, or current adoption of VSM.

Building the foundation for your VSM program is straightforward. You can start small and expand – it just depends on how complex your organization is. Here are a few best practices to help you get started:

  1. Map Value Streams: Document and analyze how work flows through each step of the development and delivery pipeline to get a holistic picture of your current state. This activity uncovers where value is generated or lost so leaders can implement structural changes that streamline processes and align cross-functional teams around value streams.
  2. Select a well-integrated VSM Solution: Research from the Forrester study shows that VSM users most often depend on a collection of tools that aggregate data into a VSM dashboard. Nearly a third of the respondents manually pull data from their tools into a VSM view or spreadsheet. However, the most satisfied VSM users report having an end-to-end VSM solution from a single vendor. When selecting a VSM solution, take out-of-the-box integration and common data model capabilities into special consideration.
  3. Integrate Tools: Now that you have selected a VSM solution, you can connect disparate development and delivery tools in your environment to gain a unified view into upstream and downstream activities. Early VSM adopters start by integrating areas they are most familiar with and expand to other areas of the business when they are ready. You can start by linking requirements to Agile planning tools or integrating release management with CI/CD.
  4. Measure and Analyze KPIs: Use your VSM program as a springboard to build a culture of continuous measurement and improvement. Take the time to identify Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for all phases of the development and delivery lifecycle. Capture and analyze output metrics such as cycle-time, release velocity, escaped defects, and quality in production to evaluate process improvements and drive further automation. It is also important for your organization to collectively agree upon outcome value metrics to understand the big picture and measure business value delivered. Establishing KPIs early in your VSM journey sets the foundation for teams to consistently measure what matters, understand how their efforts contribute to value delivery, and make data-driven decisions to improve the performance of value streams. A good measurement best practice is to compare planned vs. actual value delivered so team can retrospect and adjust their approach moving forward.
  5. Visualize Data: Extract insights from the vast amounts of data generated by your VSM solution using its built-in reporting and visualization capabilities or integrate with a business intelligence tool such as Tableau. Engage stakeholders by sharing data in a digestible format and establish a regular cadence to discuss and take action on findings.

VSM Is Already Making an Impact for Early Adopters

Results from the Forrester study proved that simply beginning the VSM journey helped 90% of early adopters create new value for customers. VSM users are also twice as likely than non-users to have a complete picture into software development and delivery work status at the product, portfolio, and enterprise levels. Overall, VSM users consistently outperform their peers in their ability to map and analyze, visualize, and govern value streams.

CollabNet VersionOne is a leader in the Enterprise Value Stream Management space and provides a cohesive solution, spanning idea through delivery, that enables organizations to capture, create, deliver, and measure the flow of business value through their software lifecycle. Download the full Forrester research study, Holistic Solution Drive the Value in Value Stream Management, to read more recommendations on how you can get started with your VSM journey.

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