VSM in wild: How to respond and react to change

by Jeremy

The benefits of a value stream management (VSM) approach — aligning the business, eliminating waste, and improving delivery — have been realized. However, companies are still struggling with taking those promises of VSM and making them a reality. This week’s {virtual} VSM DevCon presented a roundtable panel of diverse perspectives and viewpoints to look at how VSM is behaving in the “real world,” who is leading the effort, and the roadblocks businesses are coming across.  The panel included Laureen Knudsen, CTO at Broadcom Enterprise Software; Dave West, founder and CEO of Scrum.org; and Andrew Brydon, a distinguished engineer and transformation expert from National Australia Bank. Watch the full panel as well as sessions from the conference here

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Some lessons and challenges the panel learned from implementing VSM in the “real world” included:

You are making the mistake of not including the entire organization in the VSM initiative. According to Knudsen, there are a lot of moving parts and a lot of teams involved. To successfully implement VSM, you have to make sure everyone is involved in the process. “You need that collaboration. If you are trying to have the business own it, then the business is going to win in the vote,” she said. “You have a collaborative approach, and you need to incent people to the same goals. If everyone is incented to work together and they’re only successful if both sides are successful, you start getting a lot of different output and a lot of different conversations.” 

West gave an example of restaurants that have become digital businesses to keep business open through the pandemic. Restaurants now have a web presence where customers can view their menu and place their order online — and that online experience includes way more than just web development. West explained that the kitchen staff, delivery staff, front-end staff, and restaurant systems all have to be aligned to work

“It’s spreading through the entire organization because everybody has to be able to pivot as quickly as possible,” said Knudsen.  Focus on the customer and not so much on the efficiency of streams. The old way of working was a very inward view of how to increase efficiency and reduce costs. VSM today provides an outward, customer-centric view of the business. It’s focused on delivering value to customers faster and listening to customers better, West explained.

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