Think Fast: How Top Companies are Capitalizing on Value Stream Management

BrandPost By Serge Lucio, Vice President and General Manager, Agile Operations Division
Sep 01, 2021
IT Leadership

The ability to rapidly adapt relies on having VSM capabilities in place.

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Credit: iStock

Over the last year, enterprise initiatives like digital transformation have taken on an entirely new level of urgency. Historically, multi-year implementations and roadmaps may have sufficed. Today, that’s simply not fast enough.

In recent months, I have had the opportunity to speak with transformation leaders from a number of enterprises. These leaders have been able to successfully harness their value stream management (VSM) strategy to meet their charters for rapid adaptation, including rolling out new products, contending with significant budget reallocations, and responding to major supply chain disruptions. In the following sections, we offer some examples of companies from three different industries, highlighting how these organizations were able to realize these advantages.

Boosting Cross-Team Collaboration to Speed Adaptation

Over the course of recent months, customers’ dining options and ordering preferences went through drastic changes. Virtually overnight, customer reliance on online ordering and third-party delivery grew to unprecedented levels.

For a team at a national fast-casual restaurant, this meant plans for signing on new third-party delivery partners had to be accelerated. Fortunately, the team had been pursuing VSM for some time. In the process, they were able to establish more effective knowledge sharing and collaboration across different departments, including product teams, digital marketing groups, scrum masters, and planners. Through this cross-team collaboration, they were able to bring on several new delivery partners—while shrinking rollout times from months to weeks. As a result, they were able to quickly deliver more convenience and flexibility to their customers.

Gaining Unified, Enterprise-wide Portfolio Visibility to Meet New Budgetary Realities

Recently, the aeronautics industry took a major hit, with air travel essentially grinding to a halt within a matter of weeks. For a large aeronautics manufacturer, this downturn resulted in a significant and unexpected drop in revenues.

This created urgency for identifying ways to reduce expenses. The internal services team had to contend with the fact that many investments and infrastructure elements had traditionally been managed in a siloed fashion. They leveraged VSM to gain a cross-team portfolio view, so they could intelligently identify and eliminate overlap. Leveraging VSM the team was able to realize savings of approximately $25 million.

Taking a Data-driven Approach to Scale Business Agility

Consumer packaged goods manufacturers, like companies in many other industries, recently encountered a range of significant market interruptions, including dramatic changes in consumer behavior and significant supply chain disruptions. For a multi-national snack food producer, these changes meant teams across the organization had to pivot fast, and VSM proved instrumental in facilitating this rapid adaptation.

Through VSM, their teams were able to gain end-to-end visibility of their digital ecosystem. They established upfront roadmaps, and then seamlessly broke top-level initiatives into agile management-based work. Further, as teams started executing, data on work progress and status was rolled back into their portfolio planning views. As a result, they could start tracking progress based on actual work, and move away from inefficient and inaccurate manual status and siloed reporting. This enabled leaders to take a truly data-driven approach to decision making and management. Instead of being consumed by an ever-growing to-do list, teams had a much clearer picture of the efforts that were aligned with top strategies and objectives.


In virtually every industry, enterprises continue to contend with increasingly rapid change. In responding to this change, it is those organizations that have been pursuing VSM initiatives that have a decided advantage. Through VSM, teams have been able to improve visibility, transparency, and alignment with top-level business objectives. These capabilities have enabled teams to speed innovation and adaptation, so they can continue to deliver enhanced customer value and outshine competitors.

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