September 21, 2021

Why value stream management is a must-do, not a “nice to do”

Why value stream management is a must-do, not a “nice to do”

Why value stream management is a must-do, not a “nice to do”

Rome wasn’t built in a day and apps aren’t developed overnight. Or at least they shouldn’t be. Speed to market isn’t going to help drive business if the product you are delivering doesn’t meet your customers’ expectations.

The digital transformation challenge
Online sales increased 43% year-over-year for the month of September, as commerce and customer interaction continue to move to digital platforms at an unprecedented rate. Enterprises that carefully planned their digital transformation over a span of several years have now seen that timeframe shrink to months, as a result of COVID-19. 

As the pace of change accelerates and organizations scramble to keep up, they are also grappling with the challenges of a remote workforce. With teams no longer working side-by-side, whiteboard sessions and institutional knowledge can’t be counted on to address customer needs and solve business problems. Companies need scalable, reliable systems capable of providing complete information in context, throughout the enterprise. And they need them now.

The value of value streams
DevOps and Agile have been integral to the software delivery process for some time now, but neither methodology is able to deliver the whole picture. According to Gartner ‘s October “Predicts 2021” report on value streams defining the future of DevOps: “As organizations expand usage of agile and DevOps, teams find it challenging to detect and remove constraints to product delivery. This hinders their ability to improve velocity, increase quality and optimize value.” The report goes on to say that “Agile and DevOps teams who focus only on technical performance metrics (at the exclusion of customer-value-centric metrics) will fail to align their priorities with the organization.”

To compete in the new digital economy, organizations must focus on the delivery of customer value. They must integrate DevOps, agile and other tools, and then they must capture, extract, analyze and leverage information from those tools to drive value for the business. Assuming you know which resources are being devoted to a task or project isn’t enough. To truly meet and exceed customer expectations efficiently and at speed, you need to know exactly which resources are being used, where and how, in real-time.

At the software development level, an integrated value stream approach gives teams the insight they need to go beyond optimizing their pipelines for speed and quality, enabling them to deliver measurable value to the business. At the organizational level, a value stream approach provides a single-pane-of-glass view that provides stakeholders visibility into every stage of the software delivery process, improving management and governance company-wide.

A win-win-win for customers, the business and employees
A customer-centric, value-based strategy provides a flow of information from the business to development teams about what customers really need and gives those teams the freedom to make adjustments to ensure that the end product maximizes the desired business value and meets customer expectations. Everyone has visibility into the process, and everyone has the ability to affect the outcome.

This integrated, data-driven approach is critical now more than ever, when so much work is being done remotely. When everyone has visibility into the process, teams work better and smarter. Rather than jumping onto yet another video chat to piece together incomplete information from spreadsheets and conversations, individuals can see what they need to be working on and how that effort will impact the business outcome. Not only does the business benefit, but individuals gain a greater sense of accomplishment, knowing what they’re doing aligns directly with the business goals and the customers’ needs.

The time to act is now
If you aren’t asking yourself: How can I deliver better value with what I have today, you may find yourself losing customers tomorrow. According to a July Gartner research report, “Use Value Streams to Drive Customer Centricity, Design Services and Operating Models, and Technology Platforms,”: “By 2023, 90% of organizations at advanced stages of digital transformation will find that poor customer experience is their biggest barrier to further success.” 

While that might sound like a grim statistic, the good news is that organizations of any size and at any level of process planning sophistication can benefit from value stream management. Start by sitting down and mapping out your existing processes by hand, then ask yourself where improvements can be made and how your organization and the business can benefit from those improvements. How will you — and your customers — benefit when you have end-to-end data in real-time? Then, look for a tool that allows you to gather, measure and present the data you need in a single pane of glass, will which enable the business and the individual user — no matter where they reside in the software life cycle — to leverage information in a way that produces better business outcomes.