Value Stream Management in Software Delivery- What, Why, and How

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There isn’t a consumer-facing sector today where digital is not a mainstream option for service delivery. From entertainment to education, banking, retail, and healthcare, the affinity for availing services via digital channels like a dedicated smartphone app or a website is very high today. 

 As enterprises rush to conquer heights in the digital economy, their competitive strengths are often determined by how fast they can deliver newer and innovative digital experiences to woo consumers. However, in this rush to accelerate application delivery, not all businesses can achieve a smooth and streamlined experience across 100% of their software delivery initiatives. The result of this challenge is that the digital experience falls short of delivering actual value to end users. You might have a working digital application, but it would be one that fails to realize the business objective it was designed to solve.

 Aligning development streams with business results and performance mandates is not an easy job, especially when the bar for the quality of digital experiences is set incredibly high due to competition. This is where the concept of value stream management becomes important for modern software delivery practices.

 What Is Value Stream Management?

In simple terms, value stream management refers to a development philosophy that ties all phases of the software development lifecycle to the actual value delivered to end users. It ensures that every activity carried out in development contributes to a flow of value from the technology side to the business side.

Why Is Value Stream Management Significant Today?

Unifies Siloed Teams Toward a Common Cause

A primary reason for ineffective software delivery is the siloed functioning of different technology teams working towards building the business’s digital experiences. They are formed and briefed on what to do on each project or activity. This results in an ecosystem where they have poor collaboration and knowledge-sharing abilities. The behavior of teams differs for each project, and the structure of teams changes continuously, resulting in poor knowledge of dependencies and, ultimately, poor awareness of best practices. 

With value stream management, instead of working in silos, teams can focus on a continuously improving cross-functional product that constantly delivers value to end users. Rather than focusing on assigning team members for technical deliverables, teams are formed for the life of a product and are guided by the value given to users rather than technical or coding milestones.

 Prioritizes Work Streams by Evaluating Value Delivered to the End Customer Experience

Once we have brought all stakeholders into a common thought process that focuses on value addition, the next major benefit that value stream management can bring to the table is prioritizing work streams based on user experience. Which team gets access to design resources first, and which team gets access to leverage cloud storage first; these are just a few of the questions that value stream management will help to address. Tasks or teams are prioritized depending on the value given to end users by the product.

Improves Process Workflows and Eliminates Unnecessary Roadblocks

A major advantage that value stream management brings to software delivery is the elimination of wasted effort. It does this by eliminating unnecessary roadblocks and streamlining process workflows within software development practices. It begins by identifying the end-to-end workflows involved in building a software feature. 

In value stream management, teams are then assigned a task list that focuses solely on the value generated by each code block or task they work on and not on the technical progression. Hence only those workflows that have a direct impact on value are considered on priority, and unnecessary roadblocks can be avoided. 

By following a value stream model, teams track the flow of value, and when an obstruction is observed, it can be easily identified and resolved to ensure the flow of value again.

Significantly Clears Hurdles Toward Automation

The direct consequence of streamlined processes due to value stream management is the ability of enterprise software developers to increase automation in their routine. From test automation to automated code block creation, this approach to software development brings forward a huge thrust for automation across the length and breadth of the business’s digital ecosystem. 

For example, value stream management enables the measurement of the progress of teams from a value standpoint. These metrics can be automated easily to help teams identify bottlenecks and apply improvements autonomously.

Enables Better Compliance

Value stream management brings visibility into process workflows and the functional dependence of different teams. This helps in better planning of work schedules and ultimately incorporates any style of compliance that helps in delivering more value for end users. From financial reporting to workstream budgeting, increased automation coverage due to value stream management helps address a wide variety of concerns.

Value stream management is a strategic pillar of growth and should not be confused with other practices that do not focus on the value delivered to end users. However, for enterprises that have never attempted the feat, the prospects could be overwhelming. This is why enreap partnered with Planview to leverage its fully scalable and customized value stream management platform that empowers businesses to easily manage their operations via real-time feeds. Get in touch with us to know more.