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Understanding value stream management

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Understanding value stream management

Delivering software has never been an easy process. It is complicated. Moreover, Chief Technology Officers (CTOs) and Chief Information Officers (CIOs) across each business sector have been given the job of adding more value with fewer than usual required resources. 

While a development professional aligns their company’s IT initiatives with company objectives and goals may seem to be theoretically easy, it is however difficult to achieve them on a practical footing.

This is where value stream management comes into play. Thanks to them, developers can focus on each aspect of the product development lifecycle, from idea to the final delivery. Understanding the core concepts of value stream management and applying them to the software development process will bring the software development company monumental benefits.

This article will serve as a resource for starters as a brief guide to value stream management, written by experts from various software companies as well as firms of app development Toronto. This will help software and app development firm owners & executives understand the meaning of value stream management so it can be applied to business.

Defining Value Stream Management – what is it?

Value stream management is a lean business methodology, a practice helping decision makers identify and recognize the value of software development, delivery and resources of any software project.

Value stream management allows organizations to monitor the end-to-end life cycle of software development. How? Simple: by prioritizing value streams in comparison to giving features and functionality paramount importance.

In simple terms, a value stream makes complicated procedures become visible with ease, which hence allows teams the chance to pivot if certain actions will be able to deliver more value to the final product. 

When it comes to seeing the process in practice, value stream management makes it easy and simple to align software projects with overall business initiatives.

What would happen to these firms if they work without value stream management? The answer is that software teams often have various priorities in comparison to those of business executives. However, the process allows everyone to take one step back so they can align goals and objectives together across the whole company for the desired business outcomes.

To execute the value stream management process, all the tools, people, dependencies and processes need to be evaluated. This in turn gives business leaders, project managers and other executives complete visibility into the way things work.

Value Stream mapping – what is it and how does it work?

Now that the core concepts of value stream management are understood, it is now time to take it one step further and discuss what value stream mapping (VSM) is. The main purpose of value stream mapping is identifying waste and removing it from the value streams. 

Is the process new? Actually, the concept can be traced back almost 100 years ago to the production system of none other than the Toyota Motor Company (app ideas).

Today, value stream mapping can be applied to a wide array of use cases. Among them being product development, healthcare, lean manufacturing, supply chain management and software development plus mobile app development.

Value stream mapping can however be a bit complex. Yet it is an excellent way to help developers identify waste in the process. In terms of software delivery, developers can use the acronym ‘DOWNTIME’ to help categorize the array of waste in software development. Hence, here are those categories:

  • Defects: Bugs, errors, mistakes and tasks that were worked again.
  • Overproduction: Unnecessary features as well as anything else that’s more work than needed.
  • Waiting – Delays associated with the software not moving through the queue.
  • Non-Utilized Talent: Failure to use team members, staff and employees who can potentially improve the software development process.
  • Transport: Waste associated with passing deliverables from one person or department to another (for instance: sending the software from developers to product testers and QAs).
  • Inventory: Work that has been completed but partially.
  • Motion: Waste associated with switching between changing tasks.
  • Extra processing: Reworking things such as undocumented code or learning the process’s steps all over again.

When a company/development team is going through the value-stream mapping process, it is easy to write off certain things under the norm of that’s the way it has always been done. A vast majority of software development processes are not free of waste. 

This typically equates to higher costs and reduced value. Hence, waste removal is crucial to the success of an app/software development company.

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