Value Stream Management with Brian Muskoff
6 minute read
A newsletter that started as a personal learning and getting-in-touch project by Ivan Krnic grew into a sociotechnical newsletter covering topics of technical excellence, organizational improvements, and productivity.
Value Stream Management
I remember back in the days when I was managing a data warehouse project. We were creating reports and some of them were such that it took the whole day to generate them. When we had an exotic error that we couldn’t troubleshoot with a small test dataset, we had to run the reports on full data. That took ages. I remember the feeling of having one try daily to find the error. It felt frustrating.
We understood how valuable it is to iterate fast on the way to the solution. So we did our best to make our development environment such that it supports fast iteration. And we were iterating fast. But we were iterating toward our vision of the solution. It turned out later that end users didn’t share our vision. Lesson learned: it’s not enough to iterate fast, you also need to iterate in the right direction, hence you need to include the end-user in the iteration to give you that feedback.
The sequence of steps and actions that need to happen for users to get their value is called a value stream. The key to iterating fast is to visualize and understand that sequence. Only then can we make informed decisions to improve the flow. The discipline of continuously tweaking the value stream so it results in the fastest possible flow is called Value Stream Management. It usually starts with Value Stream Mapping – the activity of mapping all the steps, their duration, and the people involved. It is super useful to look at the delivery process through the value stream lens since in some organizations this clearly identifies bottlenecks, unnecessary non-value-adding activities and incompatible organizational structures.
Looking at our efforts to improve the delivery process, automation helped us a lot in the early days. But automation and tools will only get us so far if we also don’t change processes, organization and interactions. This is where the Value Stream Management kicks in. It is the next step in our efforts to improve the delivery process. The one that takes the holistic view in helping us get feedback from the users faster by speeding up that iteration that goes all the way to the users.
I talked to Brian Muskoff about Value Stream Management and you should definitely check out that 0800-DEVOPS podcast episode.
Interview of the Month
Value Stream Mngmt with Brian Muskoff
Brian Muskoff is the Director of Product Management for HCL Software DevOps. As a Peter-Drucker-nerd (hey, those are his words! :-), he has extensive experience in supporting teams and building tools that support DevOps culture. Listen to our conversation and find out why Value Stream Management should be on your radar and what can you expect if you’re starting with it. We even touched upon AI in the software delivery process – will we ever control software delivery as we’re controlling manufacturing processes? PS. don’t forget to subscribe to our podcast series in your favorite podcast directory.
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