Plutora Blog - Agile Release Management, DevOps, Release Management
Value Stream Management in a Software Driven WorldReading time 6 minutes
The Future is Software
Software is the competitive differentiator driving every business, in every sector, in one way or another. Every enterprise must evolve its software development and delivery processes in order to compete in this new world, or face the prospect of being disrupted. With this shift in focus, comes challenges of accelerating software delivery to meet the business goals of the enterprise, gaining insight into the efficiency of the process to drive continuous improvement, and measuring the overall value it has in moving the business forward. This change in thinking has been supported by the emergence of DevOps methodologies as the way to create these outcomes. DevOps project teams can anecdotally see the benefits from delivering software in a more agile way, but scaling this to the enterprise is difficult and requires hefty investment and cultural changes. When the process evolves without proper governance, team collaboration and overall insight, progress goes unmeasured and businesses are at risk of falling behind competitors and hemorrhaging money.
The best way to combat this while still reaping the benefits of DevOps, is to implement a fully integrated, end-to-end solution that reveals and automates the flow of work between tools and teams, helping shorten time to value, ensuring quality and proving ROI.
Fortunately, a new category has emerged to address these issues: Value Stream Management. This market can be tapped into by organizations with a vision of empowering teams with tools, governance and analytics to pass by competitors that focus on minimal and incremental enhancements within their traditional domains. Understanding the main challenges and identifying essential practices of managing value streams in software delivery can ensure an organization is able to build products better and faster than ever before.
The Importance of Continuous Delivery – and Metrics to Tell the Story
Most IT landscapes are complicated, comprised of a mix of architectures and varying levels of DevOps adoption, migration efforts, and testing activities. Despite all of this, pressure to deliver faster and more frequently remains – all without compromising quality.
To regain control, organizations must add visibility throughout the entire delivery pipeline across the enterprise portfolio with implicit collaboration across teams that integrate both manual and automated processes at its core. They must be able to have this visibility across all projects and releases independent of the methodology. For example, projects using waterfall or legacy processes need to be tracked and visualized alongside DevOps and agile processes. A platform that allows legacy information gathering efforts to be replaced with collaboration and governance will provide this visibility and align individual teams with the business.
If an organization is going to continuously improve, it also needs to know what is and isn’t working to be able to better understand and focus on what processes need improvements. If you don’t have answers to those questions, unfortunately a lot of time will be wasted on unfocused efforts. The fact is, you can’t manage what you can’t see. If you don’t focus on the proper metrics, you’ll get caught spinning your wheels, and any sort of constraint or inability to gain traction in today’s digital economy will drag you down and force you to play catch-up.
Scaling DevOps is hard; tapping into your organization’s wealth of data and metrics is your competitive advantage, however, you don’t gain that edge if you don’t consider how to use it and what you want from it. By focusing on outcomes and leading indicators when evaluating data and performance, you will take an important step towards a disciplined approach to making decisions that are relevant to multiple teams.
How to Find the Right Value Stream Management for Your Business
Software tool vendors from across the entire pipeline are converging on the VSM space, each having the goal of creating greater transparency into the processes of software product development. Selecting the right one requires careful review of several important criteria:
- Data and metrics management to tell the story. The solution lies in strategically using data and analytics to provide context and insights in a way that will resonate across diverse teams. You need a method to know what to measure, what questions to ask and how they will be answered, and you need a method for correlating and analyzing the data. You need metrics.
- End-to-end governance. DevOps encourages a mindset of communication, collaboration, integration and automation among software developers and IT operations. And the entire notion of value stream management is one that gives companies governance to become better at releasing software. Giving businesses the controls with intuitive governance capabilities that are easy to reuse across different products and value streams give these organizations the ability to manage and administer at scale.
- Robust visualizations. Visualizations help to provide businesses with the insights they need to make steady improvements to processes, and the ability to see the value returned to the business in the context of the goals of revenue, cost savings and competitive advantage. These visualizations also give helpful insight into application delivery processes to ensure quality and predictable releases by providing a full view of related resources, project status and quality information.
- Seamless integration into the existing toolset. It is critical to have integrations, but turning that into insight through process management, visualizations and ultimately into measured business value is key. This requires two-way movement of data, normalization, or a common data model, as well as integration into every value stream regardless of its level of automation, methodology and sophistication.
In The Forrester New Wave™: Value Stream Management Tools, Q3 2018, Plutora Continuous Management Platform received the differentiated ranking in five out of the 10 criteria, including analytics, common data model, governance, visualization and market approach.
As more businesses continue to evolve into software companies, they will look to DevOps teams to solve complex problems. In turn, enterprises will seek reliable, easy to use value stream management tools that provide visibility and coordination across the whole delivery process and the results produced. As one of only two companies in the Wave that didn’t receive a “needs improvement” score in any of the evaluation criteria, Plutora believes that it has proven itself in the largest and most complex delivery pipelines in the world, and is quickly establishing itself as the platform of choice for organizations that want to differentiate themselves and seamlessly produce results.