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Welcome to The State of Value Stream Management Report

July 15, 2021

I'm thrilled that we have published the inaugural State of Value Stream Management Report. When we launched the consortium on March 3, 2021, we began what we intend to be a multi-year research journey. Value stream management (VSM) as both a concept and a practice has been around since the 1950s with origins in the Toyota Production System and earlier manufacturing. Its roots include the subsequent application of lean principles and practices to enterprise management. Our inception and research have grown from the application of VSM within the technology industry and the resultant transformation of digital enterprise within the fifth technological revolution.

In 2018, Forrester produced their first “The Forrester Wave™: Value Stream Management Solutions,” in which analysts Condo et al. concluded that applying a single tool to visualize and manage value streams is a new development in the industry. While the principles of value streams and lean have been applied to software development for many years now, it is this key industry change that the consortium hopes to nurture. Condo et al. provide a definition for what they identify as this new and emerging market: 

“Value Stream Management is a combination of people, process and technology that maps, optimizes, visualizes, measures, and governs business value flow through heterogeneous software delivery pipelines from idea through development and into production..”

The members of the Value Stream Management Consortium represent vendors, practitioners, and consultants. These members have many years of experience with techniques such as value stream mapping and intimate knowledge of frameworks built around value stream design.

Practitioners of agile frameworks such as SAFe, LeSS, and Disciplined Agile will already be familiar with some of the concepts discussed in this report as they draw heavily on VSM- centric thinking. DevOps uses the value stream as its foundational organizing principle; the early chapters of The DevOps Handbook emphasize how to select a starting value stream and how to understand and make the work in that value stream visible.

Agile and DevOps are contributing to the current global digital transformation and the ongoing disruption of the industry. Marc Andressen’s famous phrase, “Software is eating the world,” has evolved to a more general view that, in order to compete or continue to compete in the new digital marketplace, organizations must consider themselves to be technology organizations or software-driven organizations. This is the Information Age.

At our inception then, our focus is primarily on the digital or technology-driven value stream. In 2020, a number of other pieces of research were published that were focused in this area, including an updated report from Forrester:

The members of the VSM Consortium read this research with great interest. These analysts have helped us all to further understand a marketplace that we feel passionately has the potential to take the industry to another level of organizational performance. This research also left us with questions that we want to answer.

Our research provides answers to how organizations design around value streams, how teams practice value stream mapping, how they measure and optimize value flow and value realization. This year, our research has helped us identify the current state of the VSM market. We have a clear view of the long-term vision and goals of the movement, and hope to be able to progress global organizational performance as it advances towards this over the coming years.

At this inception stage, we do not intend to expand our view beyond digital products to the value activities in the wider organizations that surround them. We will continuously adapt to the needs of our members and shift our focus as our membership grows, so that we continuously deliver value. 

It is with huge gratitude to our research team, our founding members, and all of those who contributed their thoughts to our research survey, that the Value Stream Management Consortium presents our findings to you. We are grateful for all feedback and hope this is the catalyst for dialogue with you on how we can best support the VSM community.


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Helen Beal

Helen Beal

Helen is the CEO and chair of the Value Stream Management Consortium and co-chair of the OASIS Value Stream Management Interoperability Technical Committee. She is a DevOps and Ways of Working coach, chief ambassador at DevOps Institute, and ambassador for the Continuous Delivery Foundation. She also provides strategic advisory services to DevOps industry leaders. Helen hosts the Day-to-Day DevOps webinar series for BrightTalk, 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 is a co-author of the book about DevOps and governance, Investments Unlimited, published by IT Revolution. 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. She serves on advisory and judging boards for many initiatives including Developer Week, DevOps World, JAX DevOps, and InterOp.

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