Eric Robertson shared a great presentation a while back on Value Stream Management adoption that I'm just now parsing myself, and I wanted to share my short paraphrase on the 5 main points:

1) The need for value stream thinking (and associated action) is clear, but misalignment hinders progress.

  • What are the top techniques to boost alignment?
    • My approach to this is usually to produce a clear, visual resource that ties to a high level goal. Something easy to understand, and easy to agree to. A Value Stream Map is a perfect example!

2) Lacking collaboration continues to be a challenge and a roadblock to more holistic improvement

  • What are the key actions to jumpstart collaboration?
    • Leveraging a resource (or a few) like the VSM I mentioned above is a great way to do this. A mapping session gets many people involved and collaborating. There are many other maps we can create as a diverse group as well to get everyone together and on the same page.

3) Very few have adopted Value Stream Management but those that have see a boost to visibility, collaboration, transformation progress and value

  • How can we make adoption easier and more available?
    • Starting with mapping really sets the bar low and makes it easy to start and scale from a strong foundation. It takes only a few hours to create a very high quality map that delivers value.

4) Agile and DevOps are boosting Value Stream Management adoption, but without a product-centric work model, progress is hindered

  • How can we increase product, customer and value stream thinking simultaneously to build upon Agile and DevOps momentum?
    • This is currently backwards!! So many organizations are trying to shoehorn Agile and DevOps into their environment. We need to start where we are and identify opportunities for new ways of working to address challenges, not the other way around. When you start from a clear problem or constraint, you can leverage whatever strategy fits best, and boost your odds of success!

5) Investment in a Value Stream Management platform improves satisfaction with associated tools

  • How can we make it easy to get started with a platform, and how do we capture all the parts of the value stream that aren't visible in tooling?
    • We're not likely to have a perfect tool for Value Stream Management any time soon. The best we can do is leverage what we have (ideally what people are already using!) to improve visibility whether it's mapping, spreadsheets, dashboards or a Jira board. Once you're started and building domain expertise, finding and choosing a better solution will be easier.

I have many ideas about the questions above. I'd love to hear yours and bring them all together!

Perhaps the biggest point I always come back to is that in most cases organizations either have no clear definition of value to begin with, or they don't share that understanding across the organization. If you're going to improve and deliver value together, speaking the same language and aligning your efforts is definitely step 1!

I hope you check it out, it's interesting to note that any survey Eric or I or others in our ecosystem will share largely gets responses from early adopters and those already bought into value stream thinking. I think the broader industry stats would be far behind what we're seeing here, but quickly coming on board.