If you decide to run a marathon in six months’ time and want to put a training plan together, the first thing you should do is baseline where you stand today. That will give you a good sense of how far you can run today, how quickly you can run today, and how much effort, time and commitment you need to be able to finish the marathon.
In the same vein, to be able to continuously improve and accelerate delivery of value to customers, you need to baseline where things stand today first. You need to establish your current state. To quote Carmen DeArdo, Principal Flow Advisor at Tasktop, “How do you go faster if you don’t know how fast you’re currently going?”
The first step in measuring the end-to-end flow of value is ensuring all software-related work is assigned to a particular value stream that is aligned with a specific business outcome such as:
- Feature (business value)
- Defect (quality)
- Technical debt (improve the speed of future delivery)
- Risk (security, governance, compliance)
The next step is tracking all that work across the value stream from concept (ideation) to delivery and subsequent operations (e.g. handling incidents and problems). This enables you to identify where work is waiting at every step of the way to identify where your bottlenecks are. This is the core principle of Value Stream Management, the practice of taking a systematic approach to measuring and improving flow to help organizations shorten time-to-market, increase throughput, improve product quality, and optimize for business outcomes.
Yet Value Stream Management isn’t as easy as it sounds. While most organizations resonate with this theory, it’s much harder in practice. How do you obtain a single view of flow when your value stream networks comprise multiple tools, teams, workflows, frameworks and methodologies? How do you measure a single flow of value when multiple measurements of flow exist across key stages of the process, from ideate and create to release and operate?
The trick is to focus on the flow of work that exists in your IT toolchain to overcome three key roadblocks preventing you from measuring and managing your software delivery value streams to accelerate business value delivery:
- Data fragmentation across multiple tools
- Different work states across multiple workflows
- Multiple frameworks and multiple measurements
In this blog series, I’ll dig deeper into each of these roadblocks to help you measure your Value Stream Management journey to help you master software at scale. Next, we’ll look at overcoming cross-tool data fragmentation to measure end-to-end — make sure you subscribe to receive the blog directly to your inbox when published!
Can’t wait? Let’s have a chat about how you can take small steps today to begin measuring what matters in software delivery today.
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