The pandemic proved to be a significant challenge for businesses. However, it also revealed the necessity to rapidly adapt and change. Software products that can be used internally or for clients continue to offer a competitive advantage in almost any industry. By consistently producing superior software products at an increasing rate, businesses will be able to compete in the digital economy.
Two new solutions have gained attention in the last year with similar names: value stream delivery platforms, and value streaming management platforms. Both solutions are intended to improve software development processes for firms. Both have the same end goal: speed up development. However, it is important to distinguish between them.
Which one should you choose? Let’s cut to the chase: The value stream delivery platform delivers more strategic, long-term value. Here’s why.
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First: Value Stream Mapping
Understanding value stream mapping is essential to understanding the need. This involves visualizing the value stream events and processes from creation and testing to production, testing, and finally release. You can map the value stream to gain a better understanding of the workflow. This will allow you to identify dependencies among the activities and help you identify potential pitfalls that could delay or block customer value.
It is crucial to keep track of your value stream to deliver value to customers as it connects all the various teams, tools, and applications. Gaining a better understanding of the software delivery process will allow you to scale your business by inviting other teams onto the board. Tracking your value streams can also help to reduce performance risks since you can see throughput and stability for your products.
Explained: Value Stream Management Platforms
Value stream management is a way to solve the problem of poor visibility throughout the software delivery cycle. It is possible to measure and manage your software delivery team’s performance, identify areas for improvement, and use best practices that encourage collaboration between teams. A value stream management platform connects applications, teams, and tools by collecting static data that can be used to improve ongoing delivery performance.
A value stream management platform has one advantage: existing toolchains can remain unaffected. The VSMP integrates with all existing datasets and provides visibility and analytics to different product value streams across the organization.
Toolchains: A Fundamental Problem
A value stream management platform offers a lot of visibility, but it can be deceiving. There is constant pressure to produce and deliver software faster with multiple tools. The breaking point for manually-built toolchains is now:
- DevOps automation silos have been created by poor interoperability and manual handoffs.
- Multiple test environments and the need to deploy multi-cloud or hybrid deployments are added complications.
- It is impossible to increase security and policy requirements and keep things manual.
Developers find themselves in the middle of complex processes. They must be able to understand and build complex products for customers. However, it is almost impossible to be an expert in both.
This problem can be solved by the use of an internal platform team. The platform team provides an easy-to-use solution, essentially treating developers like customers. Developers can then focus on the software products that they are responsible for and satisfy client needs.
What Makes a Value Stream Delivery Platform Different?
Many companies have discovered the hard way that creating an internal platform can be costly, time-consuming, and risky. Value stream delivery platforms replace the manual toolchains that were used in the past and eliminate the risks, costs, and development time required to build a platform in-house.
A VSDP should:
The entire process of planning, creation, integration, verification, deployment, operations and monitoring, and improvement is covered.
- Ensure that the platform foundation has both compliance and security capabilities
- Integration of DevOps point solutions and the ability to add or modify tools over time
- A centralized data model to provide one source of truth in the development process
- To accelerate the process and improve value stream, provide metrics and reports
- Continuous enhancements that are based on best practices will improve the quality of your software
DevOps teams can reduce the administrative burden by using a value stream delivery platform, which allows them to focus their efforts on providing significantly more value. Instead of managing toolchains, they can help identify bottlenecks in processes, increase automation, and collaborate directly with application teams to drive standardization.
Value stream management platforms can help you understand the process and identify areas for improvement. They don’t solve the root problem of the toolchain. The increased visibility might encourage developers to be more productive in the short term, but not address the underlying problem. The replacement of toolchains by a value stream delivery platform may be able to address all these issues and could prompt you to retire your value stream management system.