As aptly defined by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella Digital transformation has led to a new world vision for executives. No longer can a CEO of a company think that business decisions on one side whereas software innovation and delivery on the other side are two separate things with no intersection. Gradually, as we move towards a more interconnected world, ‘more and more companies are becoming software companies.’
If you are a business executive looking towards the improvement in your company’s bottom line, you can no longer afford to ignore monitoring how your business transforms the way your software development teams work. As recently as a few years ago, CEOs had no reason to delve into the world of software development, but times have changed. Alignment of software development activities and the related business goals is the first step in that direction. If you can change your mindset to focus on what and how your software teams do, along with alignment of business needs you essentially improve the flow of value in your organization. You are now optimizing and aligning the software and delivery lifecycle with the needs of the business (Value Stream Management).
Understanding that once you have measured and calculated the value, once you know that your goal is to help your customers achieve higher levels of agility, traceability, predictability and velocity, it is time to optimize this effort. Value Stream Optimization is a method that helps organizations, and their executives uncover all the blind-spots and intelligence gaps through analysis of data relating to the whole value stream mapping and automation. This data is collected through a defined metrics suitable specifically for your organization. It is an effort that takes a very customized approach in metrics (this gives input for a discussion about whether there is an opportunity for improvement) and scopes for refinement in processes that already generate value. For example, in a functional test cycle of 35 minutes, only 10 minutes of actual work is done, what happens in the rest of the 25 minutes? Is there an opportunity for automation here that is missed or is there an opportunity for improved communication to reduce cycle times? The collection of such observations and data metrics through VSM generates not only opportunities for prioritization as well as for optimization.
Improvement in transparency, speed, predictability, and quality cannot be accomplished without correlating data from across the software development value stream. Harness the power of your people’s knowledge, processes, and technology to build agile practices that scale across the enterprise, then optimize software delivery and provide customer value to grow their business. Platforms that connect agile planning, software delivery, application security, and quality assurance aim to delight customers and increase profitability by supporting VSM. However, unit optimization throughout the VSM process using business intelligence is a novel advancement. Analysis of each process involved in continuous delivery and continuous innovation through Business intelligence analytics applications paves the way for Value Stream Optimization.
To compete and in the spirit of continuous improvement businesses must turn VSM data into process improvements measured through consistently defined methods and metrics. Capturing any opportunity for improvement and by developing a process where every single unit at micro level is also optimized this is what delivers not just the benefits of VSM but also adds optimization value as an added bonus. If you are not asking these types of questions about the data of the VSM, you may eventually miss out on leads to specific improvement ideas. Value Stream Optimization is thus a method that gives leaders the visibility they are craving and leads to enhancing the performance of the overall processes, including the ones often missed out, throughout the SDLC.