Optimise Your DevOps Function with Value Stream Management

Software teams are under more pressure than ever before. Reducing inter-team friction and transforming internally to facilitate mature DevOps functionality has become the key to innovation and optimisation. So, how are market leaders achieving it? In this guest article, CMO at Plutora, Bob Davis, examines how Value Stream Management may be the answer the industry is looking for.

In organisations the world over, software teams are in high demand to deliver a growing range of sophisticated apps, services, and solutions. At the same time, the requirement for software with fewer bugs and more features is greater than ever as the search for innovation and competitive advantage continues.

In response to these and other challenges, software teams have embraced new technologies and processes, with DevOps among those having a transformational impact.

Deliver Together with DevOps

DevOps is all about removing the silos between disparate product management, development, and operations teams. Instead of working independently from one another, DevOps brings teams together to define new features, with mature approaches now automating infrastructure and deployment management. 

This is contributing to a booming global industry, which is projected to reach a value of $57.9 billion by 2030 from $6.78 billion just two years ago. But beyond this headline growth, how is DevOps developing and, more importantly, how can software teams continue to innovate and optimise their approach? 

The 2021 State of DevOps Report – the biggest seen across the sector – reveals organisations split into high, mid, and low performance for software delivery and value to the business. Interestingly, around 20% fall into either high or low categories, with the remainder classified in between – a trend that hasn’t changed for years.   

This begs an important question for those interested in DevOps innovation: why are so many organisations stuck at this mid-tier level? 

Becoming a Top-Tier Performer

In many cases, the answer can be found in the mindset teams adopt; DevOps is too often seen as automation. While they are certainly similar disciplines, viewing them as synonymous can cause a range of difficulties, such as inefficiencies in handoffs, where many teams operate without proper visibility over the process. As a result, they find it much more challenging to see where the development process might be going wrong.

To understand this fully, it’s important to identify the shared characteristics of the DevOps mid-performers. For the majority of organisations in this group, automation is delivered via a ‘tools first’ approach, which typically results in three possible outcomes.

The first is the automation of activities and processes based on their legacy operations. The second is they automate a style of test that isn’t sustainable. Finally, some implement a compliance process that isn’t sustainable. The only other real option is to do nothing and come up against a roadblock where they have fast deployments that inevitably get held back by the change advisory board approval process.

Adding to these challenges are also a group of team silos to further frustrate the process, and it’s not unusual, for instance, for the release team and the dev team to clash. In the words of Patrick Debois, who originally coined the term ‘DevOps’: “It’s whatever you do to bridge friction created by silos, and all the rest is engineering.” It’s this “friction” that adds to the performance-limiting mindset of the mid-performing group.

VSM offers the ability to eliminate operational silos, and instead, build effective connections between crucial processes, teams, and tools that enable the organisation as a whole to produce better software.

Bob Davis
Chief Marketing Officer, Plutora


Unlocking the Value Stream

Many organisations out there fully understand that they have arrived at this DevOps crossroad and want to eliminate the inter-team friction and fully optimise their approach. Among the most successful have been those who have adopted the Value Stream Management (VSM) implementation roadmap.  

VSM offers the ability to eliminate operational silos, and instead, build effective connections between crucial processes, teams, and tools that enable the organisation as a whole to produce better software. Its impact is backed up by the findings of the VSM Consortium’s State of Value Stream Management 2021, which shows that VSM implementation is now more commonly found among higher-performing organisations. 

Extracting Value from VSM

But how do organisations get there? The Consortium’s implementation roadmap sets out the steps for adopting VSM to actively manage digital value streams with the ultimate goal of improving organisational performance. One of the key points is the role of ‘Inspection’, which helps identify any inefficiencies in existing processes so that teams can make changes to their automated workflows and integrate them into their orchestration tools.  

By adopting this approach, each team is organised by how customers see value, and as a result, they can focus on removing friction from the process. This is key for any organisation looking to develop an optimised approach where they can not only focus on the benefits of better outcomes but can draw on the metrics data to demonstrate progress. 

A Unified Win-Win

Following the roadmap enables all the stakeholders to work together to optimise the development process, irrespective of whether their role is part of the leadership team or one of the specialised product teams. In doing so, DevOps becomes more embedded in the shared culture of the organisation, and because it focuses on the delivery of value, represents a win-win for everyone involved.  


Bob Davis
Chief Marketing Officer, Plutora

Bob is a management and marketing executive with more than 30 years of experience leading high technology companies – from emerging start-ups to Global 500 corporations. He has a proven P&L management track record that has been critical in starting successful companies as well as managing divisions within world class global organizations. He’s held C-level roles for over 20 years and is a Kaseya Co-Founder.