Value stream thinking is not a revolutionary concept. Looking at famous companies like the Ford or Toyota motor companies, it’s easy to see many famous examples of maximizing value and minimizing waste. Each has found success, and each has its own lessons that companies today can learn from, but at their core, value stream thinking has become one of the greatest lessons for the modern age.
In essence, a value stream approach prioritizes value throughout the development and operations process. This approach drives conversations between internal and external stakeholders that seeks to build a committed and communal process. In this way, a value stream thinking aligns with a DevSecOps approach.
In a recent webinar, CloudBees Field Chief Technology Officers Wesley Pullen, and Anders Wallgren, spoke about how to value stream thinking as a critical component of DevSecOps. “Value stream thinking is a bold way of gathering people together and focusing on the value to customers,” Pullen began. That value can manifest in a variety of ways, but all are rooted in boosting value to the customer. “To ensure the value stream approach begins and ends with ‘are we really adding value and mapping out value to our customers?’”
While optimizing a system around the customer is crucial, there remains a fairly difficult task of measuring variables to determine if and where to apply the value stream approach. These metrics can be any number of various measures; bottlenecks are however the most noticeable from both sides of the application or service. “Bottlenecks are really pivotal, they show where we can drill down and say ‘Ok, I have a problem here,” Pullen continued. “This is a place where I can drill down.”
But beyond bottlenecks, many other metrics will create meaningful data for anyone in the DevSecOps pipeline to review; failure rates, time-to-repair, traffic tracking, all these contribute to the holistic, all-of-application approach at the heart of DevSecOps. “You cannot start improving without understanding,” Pullen said. Understanding the entire application is a critical part of many modern approaches to development, but it is uniquely needed while thinking in a value stream model. “It will be harder to ensure value if you’re not getting problems solved in a much faster time, which requires you to be open to new and alternative metrics.”
All this being said, it might seem like the value stream approach is, in and of itself, nothing entirely new, and while that is true, maximizing value for customers is a crucial part of any business plan, the specific manifestation is more about aligning back-end work more holistically. “People can get overwhelmed by all the innovations we talk about, but just always go back to the core; it’s all about value to the customer.”
No matter how value stream thinking is implemented in a company, the approach aligns with the DevSecOps by encouraging more communication and connectivity between teams. In other words, it is the way to the DevSecOps how. Utilizing value stream thinking is another way to ensure that the entire company is in sync as they work on delivering high-quality experience and services safely and efficiently.