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August 28, 2021

Value Stream Management: Why it’s So Critical, How to Get it Right

by: Jean Louis Vignaud

There used to be saying you’d often hear: “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” For many executives these days, however, it can be a little difficult to see much that’s stayed the same over the course of the past several months.

As I meet with enterprise leaders, I continue to be amazed at the scope of the change they’ve had to navigate, and the continued adaptation they’re being required to make. This is especially true for digital transformation initiatives in enterprises, which have morphed, intensified, and, most critically, accelerated dramatically. It’s not uncommon to hear about timelines for teams’ key initiatives being shortened by two to five years. You don’t meet this kind of fundamental shift by tweaking around the edges. In order to realize this objective, the vast majority of organizations will need to reinvent their organizational and operational models.

More than ever, it will be vital for teams to realize the full promise of Agile at scale. It will be incumbent upon teams to try new ideas by shipping small pieces of new functionality, getting immediate feedback, and quickly determining whether to expand upon a concept or toss it out and try something new.

The Promise of Value Stream Management

As executive teams look to respond to their organizations’ urgent transformation objectives, value stream management (VSM) has emerged as a key strategic framework. VSM is a lean business practice that offers strategies for optimizing the end-to-end flow of value, from establishing business objectives and investment plans to customer delivery. By applying VSM strategies, teams can achieve these advantages:

  • Boost alignment. VSM provides a new way to foster trust and enhanced decision making to ultimately bring together teams from across the enterprise.
  • Improve effectiveness. VSM enables teams to better define and articulate ideas that maximize prioritization and planning. Ultimately, teams can become more effective at delivering customer value.
  • Maximize efficiency. VSM helps enhance teams’ ability to prioritize, plan, and develop value streams, fueling agility at unprecedented scale. By better synchronizing resources and capacity with business priorities, teams can boost the efficiency and velocity of value streams.

Platform Requirements

VSM requires a move from focusing on optimizing separate tools, teams, and departments, toward an emphasis on optimizing the flow of products and services horizontally, beyond IT and across the organization. To address these objectives, teams need a VSM platform, one that enables every role to manage, track, and analyze value streams from end to end, and in a unified fashion, through a consistent value orientation and methodology.

To capitalize on VSM, teams need platforms that address the requirements of each of these audiences:

  • Business leaders. Business executives need a platform that provides real-time insights into investments. They must be able to understand, track, and report on the value being delivered by those investments, so they can effectively prioritize based on value. In addition, the platform should aid these leaders in defining and articulating top-level initiatives as actionable deliverables.
  • Technical leaders. IT leaders need to manage teams efficiently, with a single unified backlog. They must have visibility into the status and objectives of the business, and have investment plans directly drive Agile management efforts. Ultimately, they need end-to-end traceability of value streams, so they can seamlessly connect strategic investment plans, funding, business objectives, and key results. In this way, they can provide delivery teams with better visibility into dependencies, risks, scope growth, and funding changes, which helps improve decision making and foster trust.

Conclusion

To capitalize on the benefits of VSM, teams need the right platform, one that fosters agile management at an unprecedented scale. To do so, teams require an end-to-end view of value streams, not just across IT but across the entire business. Broadcom recently unveiled a new release of its ValueOps platform that uniquely addresses these requirements, helping teams establish alignment across tools, teams, and departments. To learn more, see my recent blog post.