Why VSM Matters to Every Business

It’s a fundamental priority to gain the optimal level of value from the software delivery lifecycle. Here’s how.

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Ildo Frazao

Businesses run on a different path today—margins are tighter, competition is intense, data is the new capital, and virtually every business is a software business to one degree or another. Organizations must generate value like never before, while developing their own metrics and applications. That affects the entire software delivery lifecycle.

Modern businesses must achieve and maintain visibility into the software development processes, while monitoring and measuring their efficacy. They also need to automate manual workflows to save both time and expense and to reduce errors. This is the charge of value stream management (VSM).

“The art of managing your value stream, and making sure you’re delivering value throughout the entire process, is truly a human endeavor,” says Lance Knight, president and chief operating officer of ConnectALL, a value stream management company that helps companies see, measure, and automate their software delivery value streams.

As enterprises continue innovating in support of their digital transformation initiatives, VSM emphasizes the need for greater value from software development.

“In software development, value streams are becoming more important, but they are rarely optimized,” says Knight. “A company might start with Agile development and they’ll adopt DevOps, but they never look at the development lifecycle in a holistic way.”

The need for a VSM roadmap

Applying value stream management to digital transformation helps organizations ensure their development processes are delivering value. Without VSM, everything slows down and workflows become less effective, Knight says. That’s not a good business outcome when “time to market is critical,” he says.

Yet, applying VSM is not without challenges. First, companies must understand what value stream management is and where they need help in implementing it.

“It's not about a tool or solution,” Knight says. “It’s about knowledge — where to get the necessary development training, how to understand the systems, ways to think about lean principles and how to use them,” he says. “It’s about humans applying value stream management.”

While VSM is indeed a human endeavor, a VSM platform can help modern businesses automate and optimize the processes of envisioning, implementing, and delivering software to drive their business initiatives. VSM helps organizations improve the quality and expedite the delivery of software with the ultimate goal of generating more positive business outcomes. 

Enterprises should take a phased “see, measure, automate” approach:

  • See the value stream and gain full visibility
  • Measure the efficiency of each process
  • Automate repetitive processes

The approach starts with mapping value streams to understand the flow of work and how to prioritize each work task as it moves through the system. Then you can uncover inefficiencies, measure how long it took, and solicit feedback.

“As an executive, imagine this world where you can see and truly understand the status of any initiative,” says Knight. “You’re collecting data throughout, and you can actually see things moving through a process from an executive point of view.”

To learn more about value stream management and how to get started, click here.

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