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What do you need to be successful at value stream management, and how can you help?

Lance Knight, COO for the value stream integration platform ConnectALL
The goal is to help you understand software delivery, to look at things through the lens of a value stream, to look for ways to remove dependencies, understand where your bottlenecks are, and do that from a business value mindset. 

If I can bring in ConnectALL and hook up everything in your value stream to see this information, the analytics, the orchestration that’s great, but you won’t know what to do with it. 

RELATED CONTENT: VSM will be a driving force behind successful businesses in 2021

I think the next phase is actually finding a way to educate people and give them the knowledge not to buy a value stream management solution, but to know how to hold a value stream optimization workshop or how to implement value stream management principles in organization, and nobody’s sat down to define those.

We are going to be converting valuestreammanagement.com into just that — into a type of training body where people can get some education and go learn about it. We also have value stream management consultants. We can go look at your end-to-end delivery, look at how information flows, and make recommendations.

We are trying to help the market mature, and at the same time the solution will come along for it. If I can educate the world, if I can help put together programs that help everybody understand why this is important, how to hold a value stream management optimization session, which we are doing now, and how to use that information then I can improve flow.

Gaurav Rewari, CTO and general manager of AI and VSM at Digital.ai
Value stream management (VSM) enables organizations to drive digital transformation by focusing not only on the flow of work, but also the flow of value across the business. With VSM, businesses deliver products and services that achieve strategic goals and provide better customer outcomes. While the idea of a value stream platform gives the impression of a single, unified entity, the reality is that for most organizations there are typically two separate value stream efforts or approaches that occur: value stream management and value stream delivery. 

Digital.ai value stream delivery solutions connect strategic agile planning to DevOps software delivery to provide a complete end-to-end process from ideation through production. This approach enables organizations to automate release processes to deliver software faster, more reliably, and with greater visibility. What’s more, by collecting data from across the lifecycle and applying AI-based analytics, Digital.ai enables IT organizations to continuously improve process, tools, and technologies. Digital.ai also provides security, governance, and traceability to ensure compliance and adherence to best practices and standards.

Digital.ai value stream management solutions align the software lifecycle with the needs of the business, creating a unified, data-driven view that improves visibility and decision making throughout the organization. Digital.ai value stream management solutions collect data from across the software lifecycle, providing deep insights and enabling AI/ML-powered predictive analytics. These insights enable businesses to prioritize product backlogs based upon the value being delivered, identify and remove bottlenecks, predict and mitigate risk, and so much more.

With Digital.ai value stream management and value stream delivery solutions, organizations can set business goals based upon market needs, deliver products and technologies to achieve those goals, measure and analyze results, make adjustments, and continuously improve. This approach provides greater business agility to adapt to evolving customer needs and market conditions, and produces better outcomes driven by data.

Bryant Schuck, lead product manager for HCL Accelerate, a VSM platform
It all comes down to people. You need buy in at all levels, alignments between teams, and trust in the process. With value stream management being so new to the software space, you’re going to get a lot of pushback that the metrics brought forward aren’t what you should be measuring. You have to balance capturing key core metrics with trusting that these new metrics are what the business should care about and what teams should focus on. Overall, you need to shift the conversation toward outcomes rather than outputs. 

HCL Accelerate was built to automate the delivery and interpretation of data so businesses can make faster, more strategic decisions. Typically, teams within an organization use the tools they prefer, which creates silos, gaps, and tribal knowledge about what processes are in place and how they work. HCL Accelerate combines all the data from all these teams and tools to add that single microlevel traceability on each piece of value to allow businesses to align and govern across many applications and tools to deliver faster with better quality. Instead of reaching out to several people for one piece of information, you can find all the answers to your pipeline questions instantly in HCL Accelerate. HCL Accelerate isn’t just about visibility – yes that’s a great benefit, but what we’re really using all this aggregated information for is to automate governance and streamline processes. 

Bob Davis, chief marketing officer for the value stream management platform Plutora
We see fundamentally three main challenges that organizations struggle with. 1. They don’t have visibility across the pipeline. 2. They don’t have visibility across the portfolio and 3. They aren’t able to connect diverse methodologies.

Furthermore, these three challenges conspire against improvement. If you don’t have visibility across your entire portfolio, you can’t manage your strategic outcomes, or understand how your development processes are performing in achieving those outcomes. And all of this visibility and management is needed regardless of the tools being used — they all need to be integrated into the value stream management platform.

Plutora provides deep tool integration that populates our rich common data model and is the backbone of our platform. The resulting converged toolchain operates as one, with critical information and actions orchestrated across the different tool sets and methodologies.  It supports  a complete set of dashboards and analytics. But we don’t stop there. With what we call our action layer, we help customers orchestrate and manage release pipelines. We help them with the governance and compliance that is so often required. We help them manage their pre-production test environments. We help them incorporate requirements that are outside of the toolchain itself, such as security or architectural reviews, that come up along the way, and in doing so, help accelerate and improve software delivery.

David Williams, vice president of product strategy at Quali, a infrastructure automation company
To be successful, IT infrastructure cannot be assumed, you have to make sure it is enabled to ensure the delivery of the business’ outcome objectives. The infrastructure supports all DevOps practices, and as such must be accountable to delivering value to different individuals, teams, functions and types of DevOps practices. 

For example, small DevOps teams will need IT infrastructure automation tools that allow them to do a broad range of things, no matter how complex the infrastructure stack becomes. This means providing capabilities that enable them to do everything like providing technology with guardrails, guidance, automation, and intelligence to optimize the skills within each team. 

For DevOps teams that are larger with more focused skills, you must be able to build the capabilities and the technology that enable them to go deep, but also extract it up to be shared across different teams. Success is based upon using the technology that meets the requirements of the organization you currently have. And then using the value you get from that and expanding to the left and the right throughout the continual DevOps process. 

You should provide a capability that will grow as you grow your DevOps maturity. It should bring your teams together and enable you to get control. It’s tactical. It’s about scalability. It’s the ability to be able to say no matter where you are in the maturity of your organization, you have the technology that can help you. 

 Quali provides a modern infrastructure automation platform with all the guardrails allowing DevOps teams to execute more efficiently without taking away the control they need. DevOps practices continue to mature, and the expectations of the business continues to increase, so the way infrastructure is managed needs reinventing. What people use today needs to be re-evaluated to ensure it meets an organization’s needs tomorrow. That’s what we do at Quali. We look at the infrastructure requirements and decisions being made today, evaluate the impact of near- and longer-term infrastructure change and deliver the platform to allow organizations to leverage what they use now while ensuring the management of the IT infrastructure immediately adapts and delivers on future market, organizational, and strategic business needs.

Dr. Mik Kersten, CEO and founder of value stream management solution provider Tasktop
The best practice we’re seeing is just to start measuring. Basically, find whatever the key metric is that is the most important thing to you as a business. Find that North Star for yourself. For some companies, that might be bringing more features and innovations to market faster or making customers happier and more engaged with their products and services. Find that identifier, and then use the Flow Metrics to tie it into everything that you’re doing, and just start measuring.

For example, where speed to business value is most important, that’s going to be measured with Flow Time. The entire goal for you, for your technical teams and for your leadership teams is just shortening that Flow Time — and to do it in a measured way. Ask if you got the impediments out of the way of the development team, of the operations team, of the testing team, of the product managers or business analysts. Everything becomes centered around that one key result you are after — reducing the Flow Time from, let’s say four months to four days, so you can innovate at the pace of a tech giant or startup.

That’s exactly where we’re focusing all of our efforts at Tasktop: making sure that the journey is measurable, fast and measuring the rate of improvement. It’s all about data-driven continuous improvement.

The key is to start your journey and to start measuring it. The tools are there, use them to guide your decision making. This is exactly what we’ve been doing for countless customers. This is a time where we need to be learning faster than we ever have before.

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