The business thinks development is moving too slowly and spending too much money. Development thinks the business is asking for too much within unreasonable time and financial constraints. Sound familiar? The battle between business and development is a common one for many companies, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fixed. Analyst firm Forrester released a report called, “Integrated Value Stream Management Benefits Business and Development Leaders” that covers this issue and how to solve it.
In this post, we’ll explore our key takeaways from this report, what we believe they mean for your organization, and how to act on them.
Business and development leaders see value different
This might seem like a no-brainer, but let’s dive deeper into what makes these viewpoints different. A business leader is focused on ROI and time to market, while development leaders are focused on the steps it takes to create software products. But both sides agree that speed is an issue. According to Forrester’s report, “Dev and business leaders alike tell Forrester that their C-suite is unhappy with the current pace of change.”
Often, communicating business objectives is like a game of telephone, and by the time an objective is given to development, some key components are lost in translation. Development feels left in the dark, not knowing the “why” behind what they are being asked to do, leading to misaligned priorities and software solutions that just don’t hit the mark of business objectives. It’s almost like the dev and business teams speak different languages, but no one knows they need a translator.
Value stream management aligns both viewpoints
Value streams at the strategic level is that much-needed translator between business and development. When the business can’t figure out why dev isn’t moving faster, and dev can’t figure out what the business wants, value streams hold the answer by making all the data from disjointed teams visible and actionable. Value streams, by definition, tie all the work being done to a value so leaders across an organization can easily spot what’s driving value and what’s causing bottlenecks.
Value stream mapping is a first step, but it’s a manual process with static information. To really benefit from value streams, you need a value stream management (VSM) tool that automates strategic information gathering and interpretation. As Forrester points out in their report, “Using value streams as strategic prioritization criteria provides guidance to product teams, who then use VSM to drive successful product delivery.”
For example – HCL Accelerate aggregates data from tools across the DevOps pipeline, normalizes that data, and uses it to create dynamic dashboards based on custom key metrics. Using HCL Accelerate’s variety of value stream views, both business leaders and development leaders have clear visibility into the who/what/when/where/why of work. When there’s a single source of truth and everyone has access to the same information, communication becomes easier and decisions are based on data rather than hunches.
Value stream management prioritization is key to accelerating growth
It’s not enough to have a powerful tool in place. To truly benefit from value stream management, business and development leaders need to embrace a data-driven culture and evangelize that to their teams. An essential part of this is for the business and dev to agree on objectives and key results (OKRs) as a common measurement framework to identify and measure success. In their report, Forrester states, “Establishing time-boxed performance periods keeps the dialog active and allows teams to pivot when necessary.” Monitoring these OKRs in a VSM tool allows all groups within an organization to see what the org is working towards and how their work impacts these goals. In other words, it keeps each group within an organization informed and accountable.
Another key part of adopting VSM throughout an organization is identifying VSM champions. Of course, leaders should be advocating for VSM adoption, but having champions at the individual contributor level speeds up the cultural shift. Creating Value Stream Manager roles on the business and development side can further foster a culture of strategic value streams and help bridge that gap between these departments.
The benefits of strategic value streams are clear, and value stream management is how you can get the most out of this concept. If you want to move faster and stay competitive, it should be a matter of when and how, not if, you’ll start implementing a VSM strategy within your organization. HCL Accelerate offers a free Community Edition so you can get started right away. Head here to download the software now.