Get on the fast track to continuous improvement in delivery in just ten steps
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If you're leading a high-performing team committed to the goal of continuous improvement in delivery, then value stream management (VSM) is the vehicle that'll get you there. From innovating alongside market needs, pivoting when necessary, and focusing resources where they're most valuable. VSM improves project transparency and empowers you to make better decisions about where interventions are needed and how people should be allocated.
And the best news is that outstanding performance improvements can be achieved in as little as 24 weeks.
For instance, one company that Flomatika partnered with saw lead time (85th percentile) drop from an average of 190 days to just 58 days, while throughput increased by 22% simply by improving the overall level of visibility and alignment to business goals.
Here’s how you too get on the fast track to continuous improvement in delivery in just ten steps.
Step 1. Start from where you are today.
If you heed just one piece of advice from this article, make it this one: don’t delay the start of your journey. Don’t wait for the perfect utopian state of organisation or internal governance to take the first step. Be brave and do it now.
In alignment with Agile principles, which encourage organisations to start with what they do now and pursue incremental, evolutionary change over time, those brave enough to take that first step can experience a sharp improvement in a relatively short period of time.
Step 2. Select a VSM platform that meets your governance needs.
Choose a platform that enables you to effectively govern your end-to-end product delivery, regardless of the scale or complexity of your delivery processes and digital ecosystem.
This will likely include a comprehensive, flow-based overview of where delivery is at and where it should go next in order to optimise service levels, time-to-market, productivity, predictability, quality, flow efficiency, and a profile of work.
And for leaders it means a Governance Obeya which puts everything you need to make sound decisions and have clear foresight over product delivery in one highly visual place.
Step 3. Connect your VSM platform to your agile boards.
Once you've access to your platform benefit from its plug-and-play approach to connect all relevant data feeds. With visibility unlocked, you can clearly see what your data looks like and then set a baseline from which to move forward.
This means you can also benefit from historical data to understand current time to market, productivity, predictability, and service level performance. Informed statistical and probabilistic forecasts will allow you to have a more realistic view of what's probable and improve delivery governance.
Step 4. Match insights to data points.
The next step, once you’ve connected your platform to your data, is to develop and identify insights that can point you to key sources of delays or systemic patterns and impediments to optimising your flow. This allows you to explore potential causes and actionable strategies and tactics to address them.
Leverage dashboards that display metrics around service delivery, time to market, and productivity allowing you to visualise work in progress and track leading performance indicators.
While a Governance Obeya helps connect strategy to execution by providing a complete overview of progress, risks and dependencies, and any unplanned work that may be compromising your business strategy.
Step 5. Get key stakeholders on board.
Share your story with leadership and others who are accountable for the overall end-to-end customer value stream as well as various supporting value stream segments. Their support will allow you to proceed with both short- and long-term improvements.
Step 6. Make informed, intentional interventions.
Introduce necessary and systemic feedback loops in order to make changes, pivot approaches, or amplify an existing approach.
Quantitative data on the analytics dashboard can be combined with customer feedback and internal anecdotal evidence. With this data and proof in hand, teams can invest time and focus on identifying where problems are and for each, asking valuable "how-might-we" questions.
Probabilistic forecasting should also be applied at this stage to provide leaders real-time visibility of whether teams are at risk of missing their commitments so they can intervene accordingly, such as by rescoping or removing blockers to keep things on track.
Step 7. Review initial results in connection to your narrative.
After 6 to 12 weeks, you should be starting to see tangible results as well as a powerful story and data that support your narrative.
On a big program, this may mean starting small and using those results to prove success. Start where you have control and then expand once you’ve proven value.
Step 8. Map your end-to-end value stream.
Identify those who are accountable for each segment of your value stream, and then connect any other relevant tools in your digital ecosystem (PPM, Agile, DevOps, Operations) to gain further insights.
Many of Flomatika’s customers take this opportunity to use its insights and probabilistic forecasts to begin to triage and prioritise work hitting their delivery systems, ensuring the right people are working on the right things and only at the last responsible moment.
Step 9. Establish a collaborative culture.
As you drive for continuous improvement, the next step is to work together with your team and across departments to create lasting changes that'll make the value stream more humane, sustainable, efficient, and effective.
Step 10. Share your story!
- Here’s what Flomatika helped one company achieve in only 24 weeks:
- Lead time (85th percentile) went from an average of 190 days to 58 days
- Predictability in relation to service level expectations increased from 42% to 96%
- WIP Age (85th percentile) dropped by 56%
- Throughput (over the last six-month period) increased by 22%
- Overall capacity dedicated to Value Demand more than doubled
- Overall capacity dedicated to Failure Demand halved
Ready to take that first step?
Flomatika is a VSM platform that focuses on helping mid-market and enterprise organisations pursue faster and more predictable value delivery. Through near real-time and end-to-end visibility into product delivery flow, Flomatika helps organisations understand how their delivery ecosystem is performing to more effectively govern and steer programs and portfolios.