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Future-Proofing Software Delivery with Value Stream Management

(SPONSORED ARTICLE) Accelerating application delivery is an aspirational aim for the transformative IT organization. So, can the enterprise deliver value as it undergoes ongoing evolution?

(SPONSORED ARTICLE) Delivering positive change at high speed, with low risk, is desirable -- if not essential -- at any time. It’s a main theme of digital transformation wherever you look. So, is there a mechanism -- a process --available today that integrates that mindset into the wider transformational picture? I believe there is.

While organizations adapt their IT strategies to suit the new normal, remember there was no “old normal.” Change is constant, and inevitable -- today’s development methods and tools are unrecognizable from 10 years ago.

They will change again, so keeping the lights on today while simultaneously preparing for the future can feel overwhelming. Future-proofing software delivery ticks both boxes. And the key to this is Value Stream Management (VSM).

In this piece, I explain how VSM processes help the enterprise successfully manage application delivery cost and value now, while supporting future digital transformation. In other words, helping you run today and transform tomorrow.

Value Stream Management: What it Is, What it Does

VSM is a growing transformative approach that applies principles trusted and refined over many years in wider manufacturing to digital product delivery.

VSM builds upon modern Agile and DevOps practices by keeping projects focused on value. It tracks and manages that value throughout the flow of change, from concept to completion. Organizations use VSM to define, deliver, and validate the value of each product change.

An organization has many value streams, each aligned to product-specific deliverables. Every stream provides insight into the definition, creation, delivery, and value verification model of a product. This enables the organization to align IT delivery with business demand, while improving a product’s value flow.

Waterfall to Agile: A Brief History of Processes

InformationWeek readers will know software development and delivery methodologies, technologies, and approaches have incrementally stepped away from waterfall and toward DevOps, cloud-based environments, Agile project management, and test automation.

Testing has “shifted-left” and the adoption of Git-based version control systems, aligned with continuous integration build systems have morphed delivery processes into continuous daily or weekly software updates.

But extra products and components make even Agile processes more complex to manage. The post-pandemic global workforce means dispersed, disparate teams using different tools. So, how can the organization expose the additional information created by more development and testing tools and environments, and extract value from that data?

Agile focuses more on a collaborative team environment than delivering value. Similarly, continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) practices cannot track product delivery flow or friction across multiple tools and technologies.

Value Stream Management Difference

Value stream processes augment Agile development processes with CI/CD, continuous testing, and release orchestration. VSM supplements Agile by monitoring cost, flow, and exposing waste or friction during throughput to determine areas of potential improvement.

Successful companies don’t do blind faith. Instead, they use value measures to evaluate processes, spot cost reduction opportunities, improve delivery times and, crucially, check the business value of each change.

That is where VSM makes a difference. Suddenly, tools and platforms focus on value creation, and product delivery aligns with the highest value demands. Implementing positive change now also checks two boxes on the run and transform checklist.

  • Run: Accelerate application delivery by scaling current Agile and DevOps practices across all your environments, from mainframe to cloud, to sustain delivery velocity requirements as your operations run.
  • Transform: Enable your organization to transform by combining value stream principles and enterprise scale to make the software factory more intelligent and efficient.

Data Collection Made Easy

The road to digital transformation will be paved with data, but different information collection tools make collection more complex, particularly when some components are outsourced.

So, VSM helps organizations ingest and analyze data from multiple sources to identify trends and bottlenecks, correlations, and anomalies, fueling the continuous improvement that underpins successful IT organizations in the future.

VSM Helps Companies Run and Transform

Put simply, a central VSM hub is a win/win for the enterprise looking to run and transform, improving their today as they plan for tomorrow. From the get-go, VSM automation integrates data from disparate tools to manage value throughout the pipeline, perhaps as part of a digital transformation strategy.

As we said, while change is inevitable, progress is not. But maximizing efficiencies from tools ensures current lifecycle processes and future modernization efforts both deliver value. The VSM hub is today’s mainstay, and tomorrow’s transformative catalyst.

To accelerate your application delivery both today and tomorrow, explore Micro Focus solutions today.

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Julian Fish drives the product strategy for Application Release Orchestration within Micro Focus. He has over 20 years’ experience in the IT industry, starting in Quality Assurance and working in domains as diverse as infrastructure management, database administration, software development, release engineering and IT operations. Julian has helped many large organizations transition their development and release management processes from traditional to continuous delivery-based approaches. He holds a bachelor’s degree in applied geology from the University of Leicester in England.