DevOps lends itself to refined processes and efficient solutions. With an established plan of attack from the onset, development teams can narrow down a scope of work and use an agile approach to reach multiple deadlines in a specified timeline. However, there’s always a chance that value gets lost in the process. Every project has its hangups and shortcomings. With a value stream, teams can organize their tasks to efficiently deliver an application that is customer-focused.
What is Value Stream Management?
A value stream is a macro-focused look at processes. In other words, this strategy allows your team to see the bigger picture of a project. Even with an agile development approach, it can be easy for developers and managers to get caught up in the menial tasks, forcing a product just to meet a deadline.
The idea of a value stream began in the manufacturing industry. Assembly lines naturally adopted the strategy to help contributors focus on the final destination as opposed to the minute details. Eventually, software development teams started incorporating the strategy into their own workflows to deliver products, applications, and any services.
In a nutshell, value stream manages does three things:
- Puts the customer-first
- Allows the development team to take a step back and see the project from a larger perspective
- Eliminates waste in time and effort
All of which provide a product or service that is more valuable to the customer in a timely manner.
Benefits of Value Stream Mapping
In order to visualize this strategy, teams can use value stream mapping to design and analyze their workflows. This map allows development teams to list out tasks and determine which items do or do not add value based on the customer’s needs. Those items that don’t add value should be removed from the workflow or improved. Mapping is especially helpful when a project goes through multiple code revisions and handoffs; this point of the project is often the most time-consuming, waiting on other teams to provide feedback and approval.
Not only does VSM streamline your company’s processes, but it also propels your products and/or services to the market more efficiently than competitors. With a more customer-focused perspective, development teams can determine the source of waste and improve accordingly.
While VSM is hugely beneficial to a company, there are a few challenges to be aware of. Beginning the process of value stream mapping should efficient in itself and balance value and savings. Taking small steps in your VSM process will certainly initiate more efficient practices, but a full audit of your company analyzes the big picture and could make more of a difference in how you approach projects. Finally, mapping can be difficult at first, with specific symbols, charts and myriad of online tools. Start with the basics and simply sketch out your processes with the team on a whiteboard.
Where do you start with a value stream map? Remember that an end-to-end approach to VSM will be more beneficial for your company, so start from the beginning. Consider an audit that takes a look at your integration tools, how data is processed, and how feedback and revisions processes work. Your map may look similar to the graphic above with time estimates listed for each step of the process.
Sevaa Group promotes any strategy to increase efficiency without cutting corners. Not only does value stream management help us review and improve our own processes, but it also allows us to optimize our services for our clients. Talk to us about how we can help you streamline your processes!
- The Realities of Value Stream Management (SDTimes.com)
- Value Stream Management Tools (GitLab)
- Understanding Value Stream Management (TaskTop.com)
- Value Stream Mapping (Atlassian)