VSM 101: Value trumps flow

by Emma


2020 was a big year for value streams in terms of awareness and education. But, now that organizations and development teams understand what a value stream management program can do for them, 2021 will really emphasize getting the value out of value stream management. 

In a webinar on SD Times, ConnectALL’s COO Lance Knight, Onit’s vice president of product Eric Robertson, and HCL Software’s director of DevOps advisory and adoption Chris Nowak talked about common challenges they see in the VSM space, and how organizations can start to realize the benefits. 

Robertson explained that while organizations have been successful at gaining visibility into what is being released, the connection between the value created and the objective and key results is still missing, and that’s because the value lives in different systems. 

“People are still struggling around integrating their toolchain together. [Specifically] integrating planning tools with other systems. If you don’t have that linkage, then it’s hard to track that value and link it back,” Robertson said. 

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Value stream management initiatives need to go beyond the DevOps toolchain, beyond flow, and move more towards being outcome-driven, according to Knight. 

“Value trumps flow…we spend a lot of time on improving flow in our DevOps perspective, but not enough time making sure what we are doing is really valuable yet.” Knight explained. “Is what I am doing going to get me the outcomes I want? We still want to release all the time, release quick, often, in small batches with higher quality…but if I’m not releasing things of value then I’m just maintaining the world.”

Nowak added that “flow for the purpose of flow means nothing unless you are delivering value.” Just because code was released into production doesn’t mean the journey ends there. Teams need to keep digging into customer satisfaction, and whether or not what they are doing makes sense as a whole. But, it does become complicated because value stream crosses all the disciplines. To really be successful and stay grounded, Nowak explained you need a good approach to problem solving. “You need to look for a place where you can analyze it well and get your hands around the problem, and start there. Start small.”

Watch the full talk, “Value Stream Management, One Year Later,” to learn more about how to overcome the challenges and extract value. 

Don’t miss the upcoming {virtual} VSM DevCon on March 10, 2021. Learn more and register here

 



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