Driving DevOps with Value Stream Management

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Imagine pushing a button and immediately getting value from your work. If you’ve ever been the victim of software or process debt, or simply worked on long-running initiatives for months on end with little to show for it, you already know what we are talking about.

Value Stream Management and DevOps

At first, streamlining an organization’s efforts to deliver new products, services and features sounds like a simple and boring task. Is it something we value? You bet! This introduces the concept of Value Stream Management (VSM) — the foundation of DevOps.

Their goals are similar, but their scope is different. Both are about creating faster feedback loops, removing bottlenecks, and detecting and fixing problems as early as possible. But they go about it in different ways.

  • The Value Stream Managers want to keep track of every step in the process so they can eliminate waste and unnecessary steps; DevOps wants to use automation so there are fewer steps to track.
  • The two methodologies are complementary rather than competitive — together they provide more options for companies trying to become more efficient.

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How can we use VSM to drive DevOps?

“How can we use Value Stream Management to drive DevOps?” This is a question that should be on the minds of every IT organization, and yet many companies do not know where to start or what it means.

  • The two terms are not mutually exclusive and are in fact very complementary when applied correctly to an IT environment.
  • Value stream management (VSM) can help organizations identify and eliminate waste in their IT processes, which will reduce the time it takes to deliver solutions as well as cost.
  • When you eliminate waste, you open up space for innovation and improvement through DevOps, a set of tools and practices for development and operations teams to work together more closely.
  • This approach also aligns with the need for continual improvement, something that is required by most businesses today.
  • But it also allows organizations the flexibility needed to respond quickly to change.

Best practices and tools for driving DevOps with VSM

After decades of industrial engineering tools being used in software development, it’s time to try to collect the best practices and tools for driving DevOps.

  • It was created by the lean manufacturing folks at Toyota in the 1980s and became popular among the automotive industry in the 1990s. In 2015 it was rediscovered as an ideal tool for driving DevOps adoption.
  • VSM has been successfully applied by companies like Intel, GE, Siemens, Toyota, Microsoft, Agilent and many others.
  • It has helped many organizations reduce cycle time and costs, increase throughput, improve profitability, and reduce waste in their processes.
  • It allows us to ask questions like “How do we ensure that our deployment pipeline is always green?” and get answers that we can act on.
  • Value Stream Management (VSM) is a subset of industrial engineering that focuses on mapping out how workflows through the organization, specifically how value is added. You can take help from our blog to satisfy your query of how to write my essay or synopsis for your research study of value stream mapping.

Value Stream Mapping

It is a tool for capturing and managing workflow in an organization that makes things. It calls out Processes, Technologies, Materials, Information, Skills, Staffing, Customer Deliverables/Requirements, etc., while at the same time identifying Waste (non-value-added) in these areas.

A value stream map highlights bottlenecks, delays and areas of potential improvement. The following are some steps for creating a value stream map:

  • Identify activities from start to finish of the project
  • Assess time required for each activity
  • Map/graph activities on the timeline
  • Identify delays between activities and reasons for delays
  • Evaluate opportunities for improvement”

Driving Value Stream in Software Development through leadership

The purpose of this blog is to help software development managers figure out how to drive Value Stream Management (VSM) in software development through leadership so that the people who do the work have their needs addressed in the process.

We are stating a real example to develop a better understanding for our users.

Example 1:

  • In nearly all companies, the most important thing is to ship products. That’s the number one priority. Marketing may talk about features and benefits, but features are just what marketing says they are and benefits are just what the sales force promises that they’ll get for you. The only thing that matters—the only thing that really counts—is shipping products.

Example 2:

  • Trying to build software without thinking about shipping products is like trying to build a house without first having a blueprint. You might put up some walls and make a nice living room, but when it comes time to put in the kitchen, you’re going to have some problems.
  • And just as everyone knows you need a blueprint for a house, everyone knows you need a process for building software. But if you try to build software without first figuring out how you’re going to ship it, then your process is likely to be missing something—something important.

Example 3:

Why is it so hard to make changes in a software development process? Often it is because there are too many dependencies in the process: each step of the process depends on others.

  • For example, if you don’t have any tests, you need to wait for someone else to write them. If you want to add a test, you have to wait for an existing test to fail, which again depends on someone else writing the test.
  • It can be difficult to change the steps of the process because they are not isolated from each other. It is like trying to walk through water; you don’t go anywhere until the water part way through gives way. How can we get through that part?
  • One of the best ways is by using value stream mapping (VSM), a technique that lets you visualize and track work as it flows through a system. It can help break up dependencies and make it easier to see how changes might affect various parts of a process.

Take it step by step:

The first step towards change is to redefine the problem, and this includes using a different set of words.

  • For instance, we need to avoid saying that we are going to “improve quality”. Quality is a given; it’s an objective description of the product we deliver.
  • We want to say that we are going to “create value” or deliver “value” or “increase value”, so that we remind ourselves that the customer’s perception of value is our ultimate goal.

Lean Product Development:

In Lean Product Development and Delivery, value is defined as the total satisfaction derived by the end user from your solution. This means that subjective feelings, emotions and gut reactions must be included into the scope of value. How can this possibly be done?

We will explain a simple method of extracting customer perceptions and emotions through direct feedback and observation, eliminating any time and budget dependencies.

  • This method extracts impressions at a deeper level than surveys and polls, which only require short-term recall by customers – you ask them how they feel about your product today, then sit back and wait for their answers.
  • This alternative approach actually involves observing customers in real-time as they use your products or services.
  • By using this kind of concrete customer feedback and observation, you can identify problems with your solutions before they become


We hope we have inspired you to delve a little bit further into value stream management, and the potential it has for improving the speed and efficiency of your technology practices. Perhaps you’ll even want to try it out on a small project to see how it works. At the very least, this hopefully demonstrated that there’s a wide range of concepts available to help out with DevOps. And at most? Well, hopefully, we’ve sparked you to start thinking about DevOps in a different light.

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