Even if you aren’t in manufacturing, value stream methodology can still help improve the processes used to deliver your products and services. Whether you’re in software development, hospitality services, or even the medical industry, value stream methodology is intended to optimize and improve upon the ultimate quality of the services that you deliver.
From Beginning to End With Value Stream Methodology
Value stream methodology explores the journey from beginning to end when delivering a product or a service. Though it’s frequently used in manufacturing for lean development, it can be used to eliminate waste and increase value in virtually any field.
To start, you create the “Value Stream.” The Value Stream consists of all the steps, from beginning to end, that you take to create value and deliver it to your customer. For a product, this stream may be: ordering, production, and shipping. For a service, this may be: planning, implementation, and maintenance.
Value Stream Methodology and Software Development
For software development, the tracking of key performance indicators is critical. Throughout the delivery journey, an organization can explore how the product grows and is developed, and how it is ultimately delivered to the customer. Software development is similar to manufacturing, but it’s a more iterative process, and therefore the value stream journey is going to need to reflect an iterative delivery pattern.
For software development, key performance indicators may include: lead time, code churn, active days, and efficiency. These key performance indicators are what describes how efficient the organization currently is in developing their software solutions. From there, customer satisfaction, reworks, and general customer sentiment will comprise the actual value delivered to the customer. Is the customer receiving a delivered product that fits their specifications? How far does the end delivered product drift from the initially described product?
In manufacturing, value stream methodology often cuts down on manufacturing waste and lead times. But in software development, it cuts down in overhead and lead times.
Creating Your Value Stream Map
To begin with value stream methodology, you create a map of your current processes. From there, you can identify core inefficiencies and potential process improvements, and create a “future” map of your value stream. Are there areas that are currently redundant? Are there pipeline issues that often create a bottleneck?
Your “future” map models the changes that your organization needs to make in its existing value stream to produce more value with less waste. Once the “future” map has been followed, your organization can continue its iterative process of improvement.
The Benefits of Value Stream Methodology
There are many waste management and value management methodologies available for businesses of all types. But one of the major advantages of value stream methodology is that it’s simple and straightforward. It can be scaled to any size of business, whether it’s a small, local business, or a large multi-national enterprise.
Moreover, value stream methodology concentrates on what’s most important to the organization: the value delivered. Value cuts down both on waste and improves quality for the customer, thereby making it easier to retain current customers, and making it easier to optimize an organization’s internal overhead.
Value stream methodology is a type of lean methodology, and there are many other types of similar methodologies available. However, it does have the benefits of being easy on an organization, especially in terms of software development projects that need to be iteratively optimized and improved.