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Our Board on Their Passion for Value Stream Management

March 1, 2021

We asked our board of directors what it is that makes them passionate about value stream management. Here are their answers!

“Working as a DevOps consultant with a heap of different companies, there were key challenges that came up over and over again; culture, metrics and integrating a toolchain end-to-end. I regularly used Value Stream Mapping as a tool to help teams align and gain clarity into an improvement journey but was frustrated with how infrequently this became a continuous practice. In June 2019 I attended the DevOps Enterprise Summit in London as an InfoQ reporter and interviewed a number of Value Stream Management companies. I was euphoric to discover that technology was emerging that was going to solve so many problems for the organizations with whom I was working. I saw how it would drive data-driven conversations, integrate the DevOps toolchain end-to-end providing visibility (and insights) from idea to value realization, and make metrics available automatically for frequent inspection and adaptation (a machine generated Value Stream Map!). For me, Value Stream Management is next generation DevOps and has the potential to catalyze teams’ journeys to higher level performance.”

Helen Beal: ways of working coach and chair at the Value Stream Management Consortium

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"To accelerate digital transformation and enable continuous delivery of customer value, organizations need to go beyond agile and DevOps practices. While I’ve found that these practices have been game-changing, they are not enough to compete in today’s fast-paced digital economy. 

For over seven years, I’ve been working with large enterprises to achieve broader change by applying value stream management, enabling the shift from managing projects to guiding value streams comprised of long-lived, teams-of-agile-teams. The result is that the whole process, from idea to market release, becomes nimbler, leaner, and responsive to change.   

Value stream management does this, in part, by organizing teams and team-of-agile teams around value, optimizing the flow of value to the customer, cutting across the barrier of functional silos. 

Enterprises that adopt value stream management, along with lean, agile and DevOps, maximize flow, improve delivery efficiency and drive innovation faster than their competitors. This shift in mindset and way of working also enhances the lives of the people who do the work, as it fosters autonomy, mastery, and purpose. These are three ingredients that Daniel Pink has identified as being critical to increasing employee engagement and happiness. Improving the lives of the people who do the work and getting better business results is why I’m passionate about value stream management."

Richard Knaster : VP - Chief  Scientist, Value Stream Management , Digital.ai

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“Software delivery is prime to make another leap and the timing of the Value Stream Management Consortium could not be better. I am excited to be part of this organization as the industry starts to put value stream management theories into practice to improve productivity, business results and quality of work life for technology teams across the world. Over the last decade, I’ve worked with a wide variety of industries and organization types – big and small – to help deliver their DevOps initiatives, and one thing stands out in all of those discussions; value stream management is the practice that will advance DevOps into its next phase. With so many different applications and ways that organizations can take advantage of value stream management, I am eager to see what shape the market takes, and how we at the VSMC can help.”

Brian Muskoff: Director of Product Management, HCL Software DevOps 

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“The promise of DevOps for me has always been about delivering business outcomes – whether it is a better buying experience for consumers or an improved work environment for employees. Software is increasingly ingrained in all aspects of our lives and improving the process of making software will enrich us all. Having said that, I have realized that DevOps can often entail people and system optimization problems. At the end of the day, it won’t matter if we have automated all our tests or deployed various solutions in one day if another part of the process moves at a glacial speed. Value stream management (VSM) aims to help us understand the software process from idea creation to value delivered, and everything in between, so that we can truly achieve meaningful business outcomes. I am thrilled to see leaders from across the industry come together to help us all understand and advocate for VSM, which to me represents the next major step for DevOps. Improving the end-to-end process perfectly aligns with our purpose at ServiceNow to make the world of work, work better for people.”

RJ Jainendra: Vice President and General Manager ITBM and DevOps, ServiceNow

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“For more than two decades, I’ve been working in startups and early stage companies focused on delivering higher quality software faster, easier and more consistently. Like many people, I believe that software and data will be the new means of competitive advantage and differentiation for all companies moving forward. The economic imperative for getting software right is only growing under the ‘new normal.’ IT leaders must be equipped to partner with the business. The key to partnering with the business is to understand the business outcomes that technology helps deliver. That then drives organizations to measure the right things, rather than measuring what is commonplace with technologists such as proxy metrics that don't support the desired outcomes. To be successful in the Age of Software, we desperately need an end-to-end approach that starts and ends with the customer and has buy-in from both the business and IT. That approach is value stream management, and I am excited about VSM because it feels like the natural next step from all the work I’ve done throughout my career.”

Neelan Choksi: President and COO, Tasktop

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“Software – it’s at the heart of every business. The complexities of delivering software at scale in today’s world have proven so difficult that many have resigned themselves to a position that only minor improvements can be made to the process. Value stream management strikes at the root causes plaguing software delivery, targeting visibility, management, and system improvement. These tools, techniques, and cultural changes provide enabling insights into the entirety of each pipeline and across the entire portfolio.  We at Plutora are excited to be a part of each company’s journey and a founding member of the VSMC in order to improve transparency, collaboration, and efficiency as they create a better world through the software they are creating.”

Jeff Keyes, VP of Product, Plutora

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Helen Beal

Helen Beal

Helen Beal is a DevOps and Ways of Working coach, Chief Ambassador at DevOps Institute, and ambassador for the Continuous Delivery Foundation. She is the Chair of the Value Stream Management Consortium and provides strategic advisory services to DevOps industry leaders such as Plutora and Moogsoft. She is also an analyst at Accelerated Strategies Group. She hosts the Day-to-Day DevOps webinar series for BrightTalk and the Value Stream Evolution series on TechStrong TV. She speaks regularly on DevOps and value stream-related topics, is a DevOps editor for InfoQ, and also writes for a number of other online platforms. She regularly appears in TechBeacon’s DevOps Top100 lists and was recognized as the Top DevOps Evangelist 2020 in the DevOps Dozen awards and was a finalist for Computing DevOps Excellence Awards’ DevOps Professional of the Year 2021.