Using Value Stream Management to Achieve Business Agility
October 14, 2020

Bob Davis
Plutora

Business agility has become a key determinant of success for organizations today. With new companies created on a daily basis, a lack of agility can lead to your business becoming obsolete.

You can bank on the fact that businesses that stop actively trying new things will eventually fall behind their competition. Since customers are always searching for the best and fastest products, your company needs to focus on upgrading and delivering on a continual growth path.

The majority of businesses today are, in one way or another, a software company; whether they know it or not. You may not explicitly be a software development company, but the way programmers approach customer delight could be revolutionary. In a way, by using software to get things done, it makes you a "software company." With business agility on the agenda, you'll gain pace toward potentially dominating your industry.

What Is Business Agility?

Business agility refers to a company's ability to pivot in a new direction on short notice. In terms of pivoting, we aren't suggesting an extreme change in your business model. You should continue selling the products that make your company stand out. But when it comes to embracing new software and processes, the agility of your business determines how quickly you get ahead.

The key is to have the necessary steps in place to keep up with the constant changes in the market.

Why Does Agility Matter?

When you are in an uncomfortable business environment, your ability to pull yourself out, and quickly, determines your level of agility. Whether you're aware of it or not, your business may already be in this situation. With that in mind, it's imperative for your company to have agility and optimization at the top of the priority list.

We can't ignore the fact that the market is in a constant state of change. New software and applications are developed on a regular basis and the amount of competition your business has continues to grow on a global scale. Without business agility, you will struggle to remain competitive. Your company's ability to innovate, optimize and think outside the box can help you survive in this rapidly evolving environment.

The fact that you're even considering business agility among the tools for progress is a sign that you're going the right direction. It's perhaps the most important skill you'll need on the way toward reaching total customer delight.

Agility Through Value Stream Management

We've established that every company needs to be a software company, but at the same time, software delivery has become increasingly complex. One way you can increase efficiency and ensure that processes are running smoothly is with the implementation of value stream management (VSM). Adopting this approach can make a significant impact at every level of a business, improving collaboration and visibility for the benefit of all.

VSM is beneficial in situations where different frameworks are being used within your organization. It provides overview of every process and funnels the information created at each stage, allowing you to utilize it fully.

Value streams are everything in the software delivery lifecycle (SDLC), from idea to production, needed to deliver software products or services to customers. Focusing on value streams makes the value delivered to your customer the cornerstone of software product development. After all, software products and services that delight customers are what fuel the growth of organizations today.

In order to manage value streams, organizations need to first gain end-to-end visibility and control of the multiple, interconnected value streams throughout their portfolio. This type of management allows you to break down operational silos by connecting multiple processes, teams and tools. It also allows you to leverage real-time metrics, enables cross-team collaboration, ensures governance is embedded into processes and coordinates and automates workflows. Together, VSM enables organizations to deliver higher quality software faster to their customers while reducing risk.

With that in mind, the first step you can take is to discuss business agility with your company. You may receive some pushback from within, but everyone should be open to trying a different approach if it stands to improve quality and provide value for the business. Despite the perceived challenges of coordination and the changing of mindsets required to implement VSM, the long-term benefits far outweigh any temporary difficulties a business may face during integration. From the senior teams making business decisions, to the product teams working to ensure the delivery lifecycle runs smoothly, everyone profits from the business agility that VSM provides.

Bob Davis is CMO at Plutora
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