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The Power of Value Stream Management: Key Benefits

Discover the power of value stream management and how it can streamline your workflows in this comprehensive guide.

By Fellow.app  •   March 27, 2023  •   6 min read

You’ve probably thought long and hard about what “value” looks like for your organization. Maybe you see value in productivity, efficiency, or customer satisfaction – you probably see it in all those things and many more. The truth is, “valuable work” can look a whole lot of different ways at different times. So, then, how do you track all these benchmarks and help your team achieve them?

That’s where value stream management comes into play. Value stream management can help you visualize the path your team’s ideas and products take from conception to development all the way to marketing. It’s a great way for you and your team to streamline your operations and get all your ducks in a row.

This might leave you wondering, what is value stream management? Keep reading for a deep dive into the value it can add to your organization.

What is value stream management?

Value stream management is the process of evaluating and optimizing your software delivery life cycle (SDLC), from start to finish. Your goal is to figure out the value (hence the name) of each and every part that goes into your software development and delivery process. You’ll come up with “value streams” that can help you and your team pivot as needed to better serve your stakeholders and customers.

Value stream management can also give you a sense of which moving parts – teams or operations – in your organization depend on one another. From there, your team can cut back on any dependencies that are holding up production, and you all can maximize productivity.

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The purpose of value stream management

Below are some reasons why you should make value stream management a big part of what you do.

1Get the numbers on your side

With value stream management, you can take a look at your flow metrics in real time and make sure your team is hitting its benchmarks. Breaking down your metrics can also help you and your team can see how, when, and to what extent you’re using your organization’s resources. Crunching your numbers can help you improve material and information flow across your organization.

2Streamline your software delivery lifecycle

An efficient SDLC should be one of your organization’s top priorities. It’s key to customer satisfaction, whether you’re optimizing how and when suppliers deliver software or mapping product development and delivery across departments. Value stream management can help you achieve any of these goals.

3Automate your workflows 

Value stream management can help you increase your flow efficiency and make sure everyone’s getting the most out of their time at work. Lifestyle design and mindset coach Elena Hartung believes that when you work more efficiently, you make room for more opportunities.

“To me, productivity is really all about being EFFICIENT + EFFECTIVE so you can spend less time doing what you HAVE to do, and more time doing what you WANT to do,” she says. “[T]rue productivity is about MORE than just getting lots done.”

4Break down silos

Is there anything more satisfying than some successful cross-functional collaboration? Value stream management can help you connect team members across departments and get them working on the same big-picture projects. Managing your value streams is a great way to get each of your teams’ superstars on the same page.

Why is value stream management important?

You now know the “what” and the “how” of value stream management. Keep reading to learn why value stream management is a must for you and your team.

1Figuring out who uses what–and when

Value stream management can help you figure out which members of your team are using which resources and when. Once you break down all these moving parts, you can keep your resources as accessible as possible.

2Improving your current value streams

You can use value stream management platforms to measure and manage your team’s engineering productivity. This is a great way to get a closer look at how effective your team might be at eliminating waste. You can also figure out your cycle time way more easily with software. Taking stock of your organization’s value streams like this can set you up to continuously improve and optimize your team’s workflows.

3Following the rules

It’s no secret that the worlds of business, production, and software engineering are always changing. As regulations evolve – and, in lots of cases, ramp up – you’ll want to keep tabs on your value streams to keep your organization compliant. If you keep your value streams well-managed, you can make sure you and your team are playing by the rules.

What are the types of value streams?

In order to be a top-notch value stream manager, you’ll need to know what exactly you’re managing. Keep reading to learn about the two types of value streams.

1Operational value streams

Operational value streams track your product’s flow time from its development to the moment it (literally or metaphorically) lands in a customer’s hands. These streams focus on customer success, and you can use them to measure the value that customers get from your organization’s services. They involve everything from marketing a product to communicating with outside suppliers and vendors.

2Development value streams

Think of development value streams as the beautiful Grecian columns that hold up the Parthenon (your operational value streams). They’re how you’ll build and support all the mechanisms within an operational value stream.

These streams can focus on the customer experience, your internal systems, or both. You can use them to make sure your team is serving its customers exactly how they want – or better.

4 Benefits of value stream management

Below are some of the key benefits of value stream management.

1Get everyone on the same page

It can be tricky for team members in different departments to stay connected. Value stream management can help you unite your team over its common goals and keep them in the loop about everyone’s work. As your team figures out how to better share its resources and tools, they’ll start knowing who’s doing what to a tee.

2Connect with your customers

If you build and manage detailed, accurate value streams, you can monitor customer needs and make sure your organization is meeting them. After all, your value streams should serve your customers just as much as they serve your team.

3Map it all out

It’s one thing to have an idea about what’s going on among all your departments. It’s another to see your organization’s value flows in real-time thanks to your value stream management approach. 

Whether or not visuals are usually part of your learning style, you and your team can benefit from a shared workflow map. Don’t underestimate the power of a good visual for managing your value streams.

4Take stock of your team’s performance

Above all else, using value stream management tools can get your team performing at its best. With up-to-date value streams, your organization can set benchmarks and monitor everyone’s progress toward them. Whether you’re reducing wait times between development steps or controlling product quality, value stream management can help your team prioritize tasks and unlock its potential.

Manage value streams (and just about everything else) with Fellow

A successful organization will have lots of different and equally meaningful value streams. You’ll have to stay organized to give each stream the care it deserves. With Fellow’s meeting and productivity tools, you can keep everything in order.

Maybe you need to meet one-on-one with a key player in a value stream. Or maybe you want to give your team meaningful feedback about their progress toward value stream goals. Whatever the case may be, Fellow has everything you need to stay organized. With Fellow, you can plan and hold meetings to visualize your value streams and optimize them for your organization’s–and customers’–success. Talk about a one-two punch.

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