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

Last Updated Apr 13, 2020 — DevOps Expert

The Future of DevOps Toolchains Will Involve Maximizing Flow in IT Value Streams


Gartner Report Sheds Light on the Future of DevOps Toolchains

The Evolution of Automation Siloes to Value Stream Application Delivery is Underway

The adoption of value streams is happening quickly. According to Gartner, “by 2023, 70% of organizations will use value stream management to improve flow in the DevOps pipeline, leading to faster delivery of customer value”.

If you are interested in the evolution of DevOps and DevOps toolchains, then the latest Gartner report on the topic is a must read. In the Gartner report titled, The Future of DevOps Toolchains Will Involve Maximizing Flow in IT Value Streams, analysts explain the role and significance of value streams in relation to DevOps toolchains. It also discusses the types of platform technologies that enable organizations to evolve their use of DevOps toolchains into value streams. Read on to learn about some of the key concepts explained in the report.

As DevOps toolchains continue to grow in complexity, there is a greater need for unified visibility, orchestration, integration, and governance of the DevOps value stream to improve flow and traceability. Infrastructure and operations (I&O) leaders are increasingly revisiting their toolchain strategies and taking platform-centric approaches to building DevOps toolchains that support end-to-end capabilities for continuous delivery. With the changing nature of applications, product teams need best-in-breed DevOps toolchains that support innovative technologies in niche and emerging use cases such as machine learning operations.

Gartner sheds light on how “DevOps value stream delivery and management platforms provide unique visibility and traceability into workflows across the DevOps value stream, because they plug into planning, development, and operational tools.” These platforms enable product teams to visualize how work flows through DevOps value stream phases allowing them to take a systems thinking approach to making improvements instead of local optimizations. Product teams can now focus on customer value-adding activities instead of operational tasks such building and maintaining the toolchain. Additionally, DevOps value stream delivery and management platforms provide analytical insights for product teams and business owners to assess the level of business risk, release cadence, responsiveness to change, and cross-team collaboration.

Per our understanding of the report, Gartner explains that DevOps value stream delivery (VSDP) and value stream management (VSMP) platforms offer different capabilities but are not mutually exclusive. On a high-level, VSDPs enable buyers to leverage the end-to-end capabilities of a DevOps toolchain from a single provider. Through native support, VSDPs deliver the capabilities required to take an idea from concept to production, and back to ideation, through continuous improvement and feedback. VSDPs are extensible by design so they can be integrated with third-party tools to augment or complement functionality, expose toolchain data to other tools, and orchestrate workflows. While they look to address integration challenges, VSDPs may not offer best-of-breed tools.

On the other hand, “DevOps VSMPs enable organizations to integrate and orchestrate the end-to-end value stream capabilities from multiple providers.” Their capabilities overlap with some Enterprise Agile Planning tools that provide visibility into the DevOps pipeline. However, VSMPs focus on improving flow in the DevOps value stream by analyzing data from the entire DevOps toolchain.

VSMPs are different from VSDPs because they act as an orchestration (management and governance) layer to the DevOps toolchain and provide product teams the flexibility and freedom to choose tools they want to use. They meet teams where they are at and provide visibility into higher-level metrics that leaders can use to make decisions in an Agile manner. Finally, VSMPs have more of a strategic focus whereas VSDPs have an execution focus. The two are not mutually exclusive since VSMPs have API integrations with VSDPs to orchestrate actions and provide visibility.

We believe the Gartner report, The Future of DevOps Toolchains Will Involve Maximizing Flow in IT Value Streams, provides a wealth of information on the critical capabilities of VSMPs and VSDPs along with insights into best-of-breed tools and their use cases in organizations today. It outlines three ways that DevOps toolchains will evolve which are not mutually exclusive: “organizations will use VSDPs for a few products, layer an existing DevOps toolchain with a VSMP, and use specialized tools to support emerging use cases.” Read the full report to learn more.


Gartner, The Future of DevOps Toolchains Will Involve Maximizing Flow in IT Value Streams, Manjunath Bhat, Daniel Betts, Hassan Ennaciri, Chris Saunderson, Thomas Murphy, 14 January 2020


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