What worth stream administration is not


There are a number of definitions of “worth stream administration” floating round on the market. Most appear fairly good, however they’re essentially very broad and possibly obscure. That’s as a result of worth stream administration is a really broad idea. Given the hype round these three phrases, and the way it’s usually shortened to 2 phrases, there’s plenty of confusion. Perhaps it’ll assist if we talk about what worth stream administration isn’t.

So, let’s first have a look at the best way Chris Condominium of Forrester described it on the digital VSM DevCon that happened in July:

“A mix of individuals, course of, and expertise that maps, optimizes, visualizes, measures, and governs enterprise worth move (together with epics, tales, and work gadgets) by heterogeneous enterprise software program supply pipelines. VSM instruments are the expertise enabling the practices of VSM.” 

Now for what it isn’t:

Worth stream administration isn’t the identical as worth stream. “Worth stream administration” is a careless phrase. I see many individuals shorten it to simply worth stream. We shouldn’t do this. Some individuals do it out of ignorance; they actually aren’t positive what all this worth stream stuff is about they usually don’t perceive the distinction. That’s okay and comprehensible. Others do it out of laziness, and that creates confusion. As a result of individuals who ought to know higher aren’t diligent and exact, learners are extra possible to make use of the improper time period when asking questions, after which not get the proper solutions to their questions.

RELATED CONTENT: Worth stream isn’t as simple because it appears

 Worth stream administration isn’t an outlined course of. Observe that I by no means capitalize these phrases: worth stream administration. Capitalizing it makes individuals assume it’s one thing they’ll go purchase or be taught or license. Certain, you possibly can discover ways to determine, talk about, enhance, and handle your worth streams higher, however there is no such thing as a particular “Worth Stream Administration ® ™ ©” course of or program to observe as there’s with Scrum or the Kanban Methodology or DSDM or SAFe or Six-Sigma or TQM or TDD, and the like. It’s much like how it’s best to use decrease case ok when discussing your Kanban, however preliminary caps when writing concerning the Kanban Methodology.

Fortunately, at the very least some others appear to agree. On Forrester’s web site I see it in decrease case: “Training worth stream administration (VSM) permits corporations to show their Agile-plus-DevOps environments into actual digital enterprise drivers.” Likewise, right here’s a quote from’s web site: “infrastructure and operations leaders are more and more revisiting their toolchain methods to implement DevOps worth stream administration platforms (VSMPs).” There’s an article in Forbes that additionally will get it proper. Some others don’t appear to observe this conference, creating confusion. In actual fact, one in every of my rivals is a giant offender.

Worth steam administration isn’t a instrument or a platform. To handle a price stream is a human endeavor. Instruments may help present visibility into the standing of the gadgets transferring by your worth stream. They may help you see how a lot WIP you might have, and possibly assist the people restrict that WIP. Instruments may give you data on lead time and its development (enhancing or worsening). Instruments may help implement governance. Instruments can automate and orchestrate. And instruments may help collaborate. However don’t assume your job is completed after shopping for one thing that calls itself a price stream administration platform. 

Worth stream administration isn’t the identical as worth stream mapping. Worth stream mapping is a helpful approach. Mapping may help everybody get on the identical web page about their worth streams, processes, and bottlenecks. Mapping may help everybody get on the identical web page with regard to a desired future state. Worth stream mapping will get harassed effectively sufficient — that’s the visualization in Forrester’s definition.  However you possibly can handle your worth stream and not using a worth stream map.  

Worth stream administration isn’t the identical factor as DevOps, or Agile, or Scrum, or lean, or kanban. All of these issues are helpful. All of them may help you handle your worth stream. However they aren’t synonymous. You may handle your worth stream with none of these. You need to use Waterfall along with your worth stream. You may have and handle worth streams with none DevOps.

Worth stream administration isn’t an individual, although you might need many individuals managing a price stream. You may actually have a individual with the title or position or duties of worth stream supervisor. 

Worth stream administration isn’t simply mission administration, however mission administration actions and approaches are an vital a part of managing a price stream. This contains the “governance” a part of Forrester’s definition.

Most of the worth stream supervisor job descriptions that I’ve seen look similar to each mission supervisor job description I’ve ever seen. Plutora has one on their weblog that could be a good instance of what I imply. It’s not a nasty job description, besides that it’s an excessive amount of about managing the move (like an expeditor and mission supervisor — working IN the worth stream) and never sufficient emphasis on working ON the worth stream, about enchancment. 

Constructing on that, worth stream administration is a little bit of a misnomer. Elsewhere I’ve stated that we have to transfer past worth stream administration and transfer on to worth stream management. Lots has been written on the distinction between administration and management. Such a distinction isn’t fairly the identical factor working IN the worth stream vs. working ON the worth stream, but it surely’s catchy sufficient to make the purpose that there’s something extra to consider than managing. Due to the administration vs management dichotomy, “managing” a price stream picks up the identical type of connotation. Due to this fact, worth stream enchancment is woefully underemphasized.  

DevOps Engineer Chris Trotter put this very effectively: “The concepts round enhancing course of are additionally (as a sample I’ve noticed) virtually all the time constrained to the quick context.  The idea of mapping throughout the holistic (methods) context is usually met with ‘I don’t see the worth in that’.”

Misuse of this phrase and sloppy language results in phrases like:

“…customers of worth stream administration.”  Worth stream administration isn’t one thing you possibly can “use”.
“I wish to introduce the worth prop of worth streams” and “How can I spotlight the advantages of worth streams?” Worth streams simply are. They exist. You may introduce the worth of desirous about your worth streams, about mapping them and enhancing them. However “worth prop of worth streams” is like saying you possibly can change to utilizing worth streams the place you used to not have a price stream in any respect. Your worth stream won’t be understood, but it surely already exists simply the identical.
“How can we experiment with worth stream and validate that it’s a helpful factor to do?” Bear in mind, worth stream administration isn’t some new factor, although desirous about it might be new to some organizations. Worth stream administration isn’t a factor you could resolve to do or not do. Your group is doing it whether or not they notice it or not; whether or not successfully or not. Effectively, possibly that’s not true. I suppose a company might presumably have an unmanaged worth stream. However that may be akin to having an unmanaged group. The worth stream nonetheless exists.
“What’s the worth prop of worth stream administration?” Asking what’s the worth one will get out of managing a price stream looks like an odd query to me, akin to asking what’s the worth out of managing my funds. Or akin to asking what’s the worth out of managing my enterprise. I’m not criticizing people who find themselves asking questions, making an attempt to grasp what all of that is about. I’m asking these of us writing and talking about this matter to make use of slightly extra precision.

There are a lot of definitions of worth stream administration on the market. I feel that’s tremendous. I don’t assume we want a single “official” definition. However by defining what it isn’t, I hope that I’ve been in a position to clear up at the very least among the confusion. And maybe, with time and extra exact language, we are going to collectively come to a greater understanding of what worth stream administration actually is.