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    February 22, 2023

    Value Streams and Symphonies

    It’s no secret: Success can be realized in many different ways. Unfortunately, so too, can failure.

    There are nearly infinite permutations in terms of how blueprints, strategies, and frameworks get applied to a particular organization. The secret is devising the path that’s optimal for your specific business at that specific time.

    Most often, teams will be most successful when they start with a solid framework and adapt it to the specifics of their organization, markets, and objectives. For any significant transformation that plays out in an enterprise, the key is that teams will need to gain the commitment and participation of a number of individuals from across the business.

    For most organizations, this dynamic has been, or will soon be, playing out as teams embark on the transition from agile to Value Stream Management (VSM). According to one recent survey, 86% of organizations have adopted VSM or plan to. Further, by the end of 2023, 60% of organizations will be shipping products using VSM. (The findings from this survey are now available in a report, which is entitled 2023 Value Stream Management Trends.)

    Why’s the move to VSM so widespread? Through VSM, teams can be more fully aligned with the needs of the customer, and maximize the value that gets delivered.

    Putting VSM Theories into Practice

    VSM as a concept has been around for decades, so there are no shortage of documented strategies and tactics. However, there’s a big difference between comprehending well-established principles and applying them most effectively to the ever-shifting dynamics of a large-scale, modern enterprise.

    As your teams chart your VSM transformation journey, here’s a metaphor to consider: the symphony. As mentioned above, transformations require the commitment and buy in of many individuals.

    In a Players’ Tribune article, Lou Lamoriello, long time NHL General Manager, is quoted as saying, “I like my team being like an orchestra. In order to make beautiful music, you need violinists, pianists, and you need drummers as well.”1

    A successful value stream should be no different. To be successful, all types of teams and individuals will need to be working in concert. Too often however, different teams are working with siloed tools and data. In too many organizations, these silos remain stubbornly persistent, stifling transformation and value delivery. In fact, the same survey found a whopping 68% of organizations cited misalignment between business and IT.

    So the key question is this: How do you get the right musicians to be playing from the right song sheet at the right time, so they can deliver beautiful music (or, in our case, maximum customer value)? Following are a few keys to success.

    Aligning Around OKRs

    To be successful with VSM, and to be successful as an organization, it takes teams to get aligned around key outcomes. This means moving from traditional metrics that are focused on job functions to objectives and key results (OKRs). Teams need to be given clear priorities and OKRs, which are essential to ensuring they’re focusing on the right work. Further, mechanisms need to be in place to ensure there’s consistent clarity, even as iterations occur.

    Rather than focusing on their specific business function, such as marketing or coding, people start concentrating on the product or service that’s being delivered to customers. Instead of working to improve metrics like the lines of code produced or the number of web pages created, teams are focused on OKRs that move the needle on customer experience and satisfaction.

    (To find out more about how OKRs can help foster alignment, be sure to check out a recent blog post from my colleague Marie Kalliney, which examines how to gain the leadership superpower of aligning strategy and execution.)

    Why Unified Tools Are Vital

    To break through siloes and optimize value streams, teams need to leverage data to gain improved insights into opportunities and threats and how to respond. Leaders need intelligence to gain a clearer picture of the options available and to choose among these options based on concrete data rather than conjecture.

    This is a big reason why leveraging a unified VSM solution is such a critical requirement. In the report referenced above, 90% of respondents said they want a single VSM solution. These respondents also indicated that a single solution could be used across the entire company, empowering both business and technology teams.

    The Payoff of VSM

    Broadcom recently sponsored a briefing paper from Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, “Using Value Stream Management to Speed Digital Transformation and Eliminate Silos.” This report offers some compelling insights into how large-scale enterprises have leveraged a unified VSM solution and established the transparency and visibility that fuel increased customer value and business performance.

    For example, The Boeing Company, the global aerospace manufacturer, has been leveraging VSM for several years now. Using ValueOps, the unified VSM solution from Broadcom, the team at Boeing optimized resource utilization and reduced waste.

    By establishing cross-team visibility, they were able to spot redundancies. For example, they saw how different IT organizations had their own analytics teams. By creating a central analytics team, they were able to realign work more efficiently and improve consistency. Through these efficiencies, they realized hundreds of millions of dollars in savings in the first couple of years. Further, they were better equipped to deliver value.

    The report also describes the success of Verizon, a multinational telecommunications company. Historically, the organization had been built around different business silos. By implementing ValueOps, they have fostered the free flow of information across teams and established dramatically improved visibility into value streams. Teams are now able to access rich information that fuels more accurate, data-driven decisions about governance and staffing.


    With VSM, organizations can establish cross-functional teams that empower employees to spend more time and effort on delivering customer value. Like a well-rehearsed orchestra with accomplished musicians, your teams can work in a seamlessly coordinated fashion, and deliver results that just can’t be replicated by individuals working in a siloed manner. To learn more about how Broadcom can help you on this journey, be sure to visit our ValueOps page.



    1. Players Tribune, "Lou's Method," Ken Daneyko 



    Tag(s): ValueOps , Rally

    Mike Lentini

    Mike Lentini is the Product Marketing Manager for Rally Software. During his time with Broadcom, he has focused on ValueOps, Agile Management, IT Service Management, and AIOps products.

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