Intuition has its place in decision making—you should not ignore your instincts any more than you should ignore your conscience—but anyone who thinks that intuition is a substitute for reason is indulging in a risky delusion. – Eric Bonabeau, Don’t Trust Your Gut, Havard Business Review
With the COVID-19 pandemic accelerating existing digital trends such as omnichannel experiences, tech-enabled selling and e-commerce, tech giants are getting even richer—Amazon reported a profit of $5.2 billion for the quarter, up 40% from the same period last year. In response, proactive IT leaders at traditional enterprises are taking no more chances. Overwhelmed by a flurry of theories and hunches from across their organization, they’re desperate for the truth. What exactly is slowing them down right now and stopping them from supporting their customers and employees during these troubled times? Another roll of the DevOps dice just won’t cut it. That’s why many are gravitating towards data-driven value stream management (VSM) in software delivery to continuously measure and improve the end-to-end flow of business value. The practice is helping them be approximately right with their decision-making, rather than exactly wrong because the stakes are just too high to hit and hope.
By 2023, 70% of organizations will use value stream management to improve flow in the DevOps pipeline, leading to faster delivery of customer value – Gartner, The Future of DevOps Toolchains will Involve Measuring Flow in IT Value Streams, 14 Jan 2020
Instant Visibility to Balance Your Portfolio
Measuring the value stream from end-to-end is helping many organizations to cut through the metric madness in IT. Flow Metrics, as they’re known, measure the rate of business value delivery for software products through the lens of the customer (whether internal or external). The near real-time findings are helping IT leaders to show their business counterparts their current state and where to focus investment to improve market response. Crucially, these value stream metrics are presented in a non-technical language that the business understands. Tearing down the language barrier, the data drives highly impactful discussions around priorities and trade-offs to help leadership balance budgets across their portfolios and determine which budgets will deliver the best ROI.
Many fleet-footed IT leaders are already reaping the benefits of measuring and improving value stream flow in real-time:
- A healthcare leader doubled its feature Flow Velocity, introducing new business capabilities faster than ever
- A telecom giant was able to change its outsourcing strategy and renegotiate better terms with its managed service partners
- An online investment firm discovered the system bottleneck impeding digital channel innovation and began working to dismantle it
- IT and business consulting firm CGI unlocked capacity equivalent to over 7,500 days per year
Run Data-Driven Investigations
Detached from rigorous analysis, intuition is a fickle and undependable guide—it is as likely to lead to disaster as to success. – Eric Bonabeau
Whatever the issue, leadership can access the objective data to bring the right group of experts “into the room”—in person or during a video conference—to run a diagnosis and find a solution to remove impediments. Moreover, they can use the Flow Metrics to track whether their experiments are working or not to shift gears quickly. No more gut feelings or wishful thinking; their specialist teams have the facts to carry out a data-driven investigation that will fix issues faster. And, crucially, help foster a stronger culture of collaboration and continuous learning between business and IT to create the rapid feedback loops that the tech oligopoly harness to disrupt all and sundry.
3 Capabilities For Measuring Flow
There are some considerations in accessing this data. Measuring end-to-end flow across complex technical knowledge work across 10k IT practitioners and getting the information into a state that business stakeholders understand is a daunting challenge — especially when information exists in many different places in different contexts for different teams across multiple value streams. Getting actionable real-time visibility into end-to-end flow requires the following capabilities:
More Real-Life Investigations
To hear more real-life stories about how organizations today are easily accessing these metrics and using them get to the truth of what’s holding them back, watch our most recent webinar on-demand:
Need a Hand Measuring Your Flow?
If you’re curious about learning more about gleaning insights from your value stream flow, one of our friendly Flow Advisors would love to help you. Let’s have an informal chat.
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