Value Stream Management (VSM) is a relatively new trend in software development that focuses on the value of delivery initiatives across an organization’s software development lifecycle (SDLC). Organizations are turning to VSM to provide a bird’s-eye view of the entire end-to-end DevOps lifecycle to better identify and evaluate individual elements of the value stream and analyze data holistically.

VSM is not a replacement for DevOps or Agile: it’s a way to expand and leverage the work you’ve already done in breaking down silos, improving quality, accelerating delivery, and ensuring that your business strategy is aligned from the beginning. Additionally, VSM adds the element of value—not only taking value into consideration but being able to assess and measure how value flows between the business, IT, and the end customer.

How to begin to manage your value streams 

Let’s explore the steps you need to take to effectively manage your value stream: 

1. Collect and normalize data

Since most enterprise teams use various tools to do their part of the job, collecting and making sense of data to assess flow and make improvements can be quite complex. VSM requires integrating information that all these tools generate across the multiple phases of delivery and normalizing it so it can be leveraged to generate insights. 

Critically, this data collection needs to happen automatically and comprehensively to have minimal impact on executing within a value stream. 

2. Close gaps in the SDLC 

As more enterprises become more mature in their DevOps and Agile practices, their processes become more complex to manage. Disparate teams may develop many dependent components and be geographically dispersed and using different tools. Mapping your digital value stream will help you to see where you may have gaps or be able to consolidate tools and modify processes for better flow. VSM provides a way to prioritize the initiatives that deliver true value, even if that means making internal changes to teams and tools to better provide products and services that customers want. 

3. Track the flow 

As part of their DevOps adoption, many organizations have turned to continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) practices, continuous testing, and Agile processes for product delivery. This has allowed them to break down silos between IT, testing, QA, and deployment. However, what they lack is the ability to visualize and get insights into the product delivery flow or measure the impact of friction across multiple tools and technologies.   

To manage the entire end-to-end process, you need to know how work passes through your teams, tools, and phases. 

4. Determine value 

Most enterprises have no standard way to track the perceived and actual value of the projects and initiatives proposed for business demand across a product value stream. Knowing which metrics, you need to establish value measurement requires understanding your development processes from idea to deployment and having a mechanism in place to be able to track those metrics across the various phases of the SDLC. These metrics include information relating to the people, systems, business functions, and information across the company. 

Once you have your data connected and a consistent way to measure value, you can show what parts of your process slow value delivery or erode quality. VSM is all about determining how to mitigate and prevent bottlenecks and defects before they impact delivery. 

5. Tie it all together 

Value streams connect the phases of the software delivery process precisely because they span the entire process. To take advantage of the holistic and connected value stream data, you need to be able to visualize and get insights from the data you have collected so you can make improvements and track progress. Value stream management requires you to have the right tools in place to set up those connections, analyze the data, and show where improvements can be made.

How to get started

Experts recommend that the first step to starting your value stream management journey is to comprehensively map your digital value stream. You should be able to answer all these questions:

  • What is the process for turning ideas into initiatives? 
  • What steps are involved in planning, developing, testing, and operating new software and existing applications?  
  • Which tools are used? 
  • Which teams are involved?  
  • What metrics do you use to measure success? 
  • How do you measure value?

The path to value 

Agile development revolutionized the way software is made. DevOps then broke down the silos between building, deploying, and maintaining applications. VSM builds upon those advances to make the next big step in application development, accelerating speed to market and improving quality, which allows your teams to deliver higher value to your customers.  Learn more about OpenText ValueEdge, the value stream management and DevOps platform that spans the phases of your digital value steams, connects your data, and delivers the insights you need to be successful.