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What is Value Stream Management and Why Is It Important for DevOps


What is Value Stream Management and Why Is It Important for DevOps


This content is brought to you by Evolven. Evolven Change Analytics is a unique AIOps solution that tracks and analyzes all actual changes carried out in the enterprise cloud environment. Evolven helps leading enterprises cut the number of incidents, slash troubleshoot time, and eliminate unauthorized changes. Learn more

Software delivery poses new challenges for teams across all types of large enterprises due to  increasing complexity. However, such deliveries must continue because they are a core part of operations.

Leading software companies and large enterprises alike can’t stop innovating or pushing for faster development because the need to perform and  remain competitive is ever present. To do this, you must offer greater value for your clients while using fewer resources. This can be difficult due to the challenges associated with aligning business objectives with IT operations.

The good news is that it is possible to meet such objectives by utilizing what is called value stream management. Let’s examine what value stream management is, how enterprises utilize it, and how this has become a new priority for DevOps teams.

What are Value Streams?

Value Streams refer to everything involved in the software delivery lifecycle (SDLC). A value stream covers all stages from idea inception to end production needed in delivering software or services to clients. In practice, value streams resemble a large group of teams working together to achieve a shared goal. Such teams must be in sync to ensure the value for the end-customer is maximized.

So what makes a value stream beneficial? Each step within the value stream should be focused on creating additional value for the customer. As an idea enters into development via build processes and testing, its value gradually increases until it is finally delivered to the client. When used correctly, a value stream allows the full value of these processes to be realized.

What is Value Stream Management?

Value Stream Management refers to the process of optimizing the flow of efforts through the value stream. You can do this by first identifying which steps in the delivery process are value-adding and which ones are creating waste. This requires a process known as Value Stream Mapping (VSM).

VSM is essentially a method of creating a structured visualization of the different steps and data required to understand and improve the delivery process. VSMs offer a comprehensive view of otherwise complex processes, thereby making it easier to see the different areas where value can be added.

How Enterprises Perform Value Stream Management

Enterprises typically perform value stream management using value stream management platforms. These platforms allow you to monitor and measure your teams’ progress over time. They automate metrics from each team and offer insights into where bottlenecks are located and where waste is occurring. The platforms can then demonstrate how teams can intervene and perform improvements with the help of DevOps toolchains.

Managing value streams requires operation silos among teams and tools to be first broken down. They then converge toolchains across the value stream management platform and view how work actually flows across the enterprise operation.

Following this, they can measure what is present in the value stream as well as how the value got there and how it will trend over time.

Understanding DevOp Metrics in Value Streams

DevOps teams capture information about the value stream using many different metrics. Four of the most notable ones include:

Mean Time to Repair

Mean time to repair refers to how long it generally takes to restore a service once an incident occurs within the value stream. Such incidents could include unplanned outages or service disruptions.

Change Fail Rate

Change fail rate refers to the percentage of changes in production that would cause the service to degrade or an outage to occur. Such degradation would require remediation within the value stream.

Lead Time

Lead time refers to the length of time it takes for the code committed to successfully run in the value stream’s production line.

Deployment Frequency

Deployment frequency refers to the frequency at which the code is deployed and enter’s the value stream’s production.

Integrating Flow Metrics

Once DevOps teams have obtained the metrics described above, they can incorporate them into flow metrics. Flow metrics look at different aspects of the value stream and provide insight into what is actually happening within them.

These flow metrics are:

Flow Velocity

Flow velocity denotes the number of Flow Items of different types completed within a specified period.

Flow Time

Flow time denotes  the time it takes for each Flow Item to its “work start” to “work complete” state. This includes the time the Flow Item is active or is dormant. Flow times help indicate if the cycle time or time to value is getting shorter or longer.

Flow Efficiency

Flow efficiency describes the ratio of active time to wait time from the total Flow Time. It can help identify instances of waste increasing or decreasing the value stream processes.

Flow Load

Flow load describes the underutilization of overutilization or value streams. It measures the number of Flow Items that are currently in progress within each value stream. It can therefore indicate if there has been a reduction in productivity.

Flow Distribution

Flow distribution measures the ratio of each of the four flow items, “features”, “debt”, “defects”, and “risk”, over a specific period. This helps DevOps teams prioritize different types of work to meet a particular business objective.

Why More Enterprises and DevOps Teams are Focusing on Value Stream Management

Value Stream Management is increasingly becoming a top priority for the DevOps teams at enterprises for the benefits it provides and the problems it helps avert.

Delivering digital products to customers requires that the delivery aligns with the enterprise’s business strategy. This is possible only when the software development and delivery processes are understood as a single value stream. This leaves behind traditional methods of compartmentalizing activities in silos that fail to prioritize the value delivered to customers. Such approaches generally lead to poor results.

You must therefore invest in value streams by understanding things from a system-level perspective. Teams must understand if the value is being delivered to customers efficiently if they wish to improve their quality and delivery method.

Value Stream Management is invaluable in this area because it allows the enterprise to understand how value flows throughout the whole software delivery process. It allows insight into bottlenecks, inefficiencies, and risk. Using this information, teams can systematically improve the way they deliver digital products and maximize value and save costs along the way.

DevOps teams can focus their efforts on actions that offer value for clients instead of on operational tasks. The VSM platforms also offer valuable information that allows other decision-makers at the enterprise to assess business-risks, team collaboration, and change responsiveness.

Teams can also use VSM platforms to get a comprehensive view of product line compliance, governance, stability, and security. They may also utilize advanced indicators to help the enterprise gain a competitive advantage after transforming their strategy for more client-centric results.

Value Stream Management essentially arms various stakeholders with key information and metrics that allow them to identify, measure, and respond to different processes in the appropriate manner. This consolidated knowledge enables them to improve deliveries and offer high value to clients.

How You Can Embrace Value Stream Management at Your Enterprise

Value Stream Management is all about tracking and implementing the right set of changes that help boost value for customers. Enterprises seeking more insight into their value streams can benefit by using platforms such as Evolven.

Evolven is an AI-driven platform that assists with fast actionable decision making and incident resolution. It can help you identify code and configuration changes  that impact application delivery. Our platform offers a clearer picture into your operational landscape and includes proactive risk analyses for smoother digital transformation and greater customer value.

Please contact us to learn more about our services and how we can assist you with better insight into your operations and ultimately boost value for your clients.

Value stream management includes many approaches designed to help enterprises control how value changes across their delivery line.

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Contact Evolven here to see the Evolven Change Control technology in action.

About the Author
Kristi Perdue
Vice President of Marketing