menu
Last updated on
Plutora Blog - Agile Release Management, DevOps, Digital Transformation, Release Management, Software Development, Value Stream Management

The Emerging Role of Value Stream Manager: A Job Description

Reading time 5 minutes

The Value Stream Manager is a new and growing role in software development. But despite being a relative newcomer, they play a critical role in leading today’s changing software development processes. In the movement toward value stream oriented teams, which organizes all the activities and processes that deliver a software product or service into value streams, Value Stream Managers are the team coach.   

In this re-orientation of teams around a value stream, the organizing principle shifts away from specific projects toward long-lived products or services. This means the end-to-end software development cycle (SDLC) for each product or service becomes one value stream. In this way of working, value stream teams include upstream members such as business stakeholders, GRC, and product managers, as well as downstream members such as developers, operations, and information security. By orienting teams around value streams, you are able to look at the entire SDLC as one system and can optimize work throughout it. 

In their role, Value Stream Managers aim to safely and strategically accelerate the flow of work through the value stream. This is a complex task. Value Stream Managers have to balance the short-term productivity with the long-term health of the value stream, as well as managing risks and dependencies across teams. This is the major difference in the shift to value stream thinking. It’s not just about creating a superior product or service, but also about building the infrastructure and capacity to deliver a continuously improving product or service for the lifetime of the value stream. With this long view of product or service delivery, cultivation and maintenance of the value stream must be prioritized against delivering new features. 

The task of maintaining both the product or service as well as the value stream itself can be a challenge for anyone. That’s why Value Stream Managers are often individuals that have had a broad end-to-end experience in the software delivery pipeline. For example, release managers, product managers, or DevOps managers that have shown interest in expanding their roles and demonstrate strong communication skills are ideal candidates. But unlike hiring for other roles, placing a Value Stream Manager can be especially difficult due to the fact that it is an emerging role in the marketplace. As a result, the hiring process must begin with a particularly detailed job description that outlines the position’s requirements in full. To help you round out your team and find the best candidates for your Value Stream Manager position, here is an example of a job description that will land the right hire.

Value Stream Manager Job Overview:

The Value Stream Manager maintains the health of the value stream and safely accelerates the flow of work from idea to delivery. This includes the prioritization of work in sprint planning, as well as coordinating and managing releases in the value stream. The releases can be inclusive of product or service features, security or bug fixes, or addressing technical debt in the value stream.  

You will be responsible for implementing and managing release processes from idea through development, test, and production environments. The Value Stream Manager works collaboratively with all participants in software development and is supportive of developers and testers as they set up their build dev/test environments. They work closely with product owners and development managers to ensure that the value stream’s health is properly maintained. In their work with product managers, Value Stream Managers help to ensure that the product or service the value stream supports continues to evolve and delight customers with the right, new features. In their work with development managers, they also ensure that development teams have the resources to succeed in continuously building, delivering, and updating software and environments. In addition, they will work with other Value Stream Managers or Release Managers to manage dependencies and develop and maintain a centralized IT Release Calendar.

Value Stream Managers execute and oversee value stream management best practices within the value stream for which they are responsible. This includes identifying and capturing the DevOps and Flow metrics that will be used to continuously improve the value stream. This also includes understanding all the activities and processes within the value stream in order to identify opportunities for improvement. In short, the Value Stream Manager will monitor value stream metrics, identify bottlenecks, and implement experiments for improvement.

Role and Responsibilities:

  • Monitor value stream metrics for value stream health and to identify opportunities for improvement
  • Coordinate release content based on product objectives and development needs to accelerate feature delivery while addressing technical debt
  • Manage risks and resolve issues that affect release scope, schedule, and quality
  • Manage relationships and coordinate work between different teams and locations throughout the value stream
  • Negotiate, plan and manage all value stream activities
  • Conduct Release Readiness reviews, Milestone Reviews, and Business Go/No-Go reviews
  • Lead and co-ordinate the Go-Live activities including the execution of the deployment plans and checklists.
  • Participate in planning or change meetings to discuss release scope and/or roadblocks
  • Execute value stream management best practices
  • Research new software development and configuration management methodologies and technologies and analyze their application to current configuration management needs
  • Maintain a release repository and manage key information such as build and release procedures, dependencies, and notification lists
  • Manage value stream backlog, release windows, and cycles
  • Communicate all key project plans, commitments, and changes including requirements, QA plans, schedule, and scope changes

Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, Computer Engineering, or related field
  • 2+ years of previous release, development or product management experience, (Solid understanding of project management principles preferred)
  • 2+ years as a technical leader of software engineering or computer professionals
  • 8+ years of experience in software development, testing, or operations
  • Advanced knowledge of software development lifecycle
  • Demonstrated ability to coordinate cross-functional work teams toward task completion
  • Demonstrated effective leadership and analytical skills
  • Advanced written and verbal communication skills are a must
  • General PC knowledge including Microsoft Office expert level knowledge of Excel, working Knowledge of Access
Scott White Scott White

Scott explores the intersections of technology and teaching. Scott started in engineering, and soon enough that turned into teaching. Teaching turned to international development and that turned into studying behavioral economics and how to develop great products. Day to day he combines his love for technology with the excitement of telling people about it. Product marketing is not just learning about a product; it’s about knowing your audience well enough to connect the two with compelling messaging.