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What about Value Streams?

April 7, 2024

Development Value Stream and Operational Value Stream represent two distinct aspects within an organization. Understanding their differences is key to optimizing processes, enhancing efficiency, and delivering value.

Development Value Stream

The Development Value Stream focuses on the creation and development of new products, services, or features. It involves transforming ideas and requirements into a deliverable product or service. 

Activities: This includes design, development, testing, and the integration of new features or products. The goal is to bring new value to the customer through innovation and improvement.

Development Value Stream

Metrics: Metrics often revolve around delivery speed, quality (such as defect rates), and the frequency of releases. Agile approaches and continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD) practices are commonly employed.

Challenges: Challenges in the development value stream often relate to managing changes, maintaining quality, and ensuring that new developments align with customer needs and expectations.

Goal: The primary goal is to effectively convert customer needs and business requirements into new or improved products and services sooner. Flow efficiency is key. (read my blog: What are the different Types of Efficiencies?)

Operational Value Stream

The Operational Value Stream focuses on the delivery and management of existing products or services. It ensures that customer needs and happiness are continuously met through the effective operation of products or services.

Activities: This includes managing ongoing operations, customer support, maintenance, and the regular updating of products or services to ensure reliability, stability, and performance.

Operational Value Stream

Metrics: Metrics typically include uptime, response times, customer satisfaction, and incident resolution times. The emphasis is on stability, efficiency, and quality of service.

Challenges: Operational challenges often revolve around maintaining service quality, managing incidents, and adapting to changing customer usage patterns without disrupting service.

Goal: The ultimate goal is to ensure that products and services are reliably delivered to customers, maintaining and enhancing value post-launch as cost efficient as possible. 

Key Differences

Purpose: Development streams are product or service-oriented, focusing on creating customer outcome - 2new value. Operational streams are process-oriented, focusing on delivering and maintaining existing value.

Activities: Development involves designing, building, and testing new features, while operations focus on the day-to-day management, support, and continuous improvement of current services.

Metrics: Development metrics are centered around innovation effectiveness, whereas operational metrics focus on service quality and reliability.

Challenges: Development streams navigate the complexities of bringing new products to market, while operational streams deal with the challenges of keeping services running smoothly.

How should both Value Streams be aligned?

When the Development Value Stream and the Operational Value Stream in an organization are too far separated, several issues can arise, impacting efficiency, productivity, and overall success. Some of the key consequences include:

Reduced Agility: An organization might struggle to respond quickly to market changes, customer feedback, or emerging challenges. The lag between developing a feature and deploying it can stifle the organization's ability to compete effectively.

Communication Breakdowns: A large gap between development and operations can lead to poor communication and misunderstandings. Key information might not be shared effectively, leading to errors, redundant work, or misaligned priorities.

Misalignment of Objectives: Development teams might focus on innovation and the rapid deployment of new features, while operations teams prioritize stability, reliability, and security. This misalignment can result in conflicts over resource allocation, schedules, and priorities.

Increased Costs: Inefficiencies in handover processes, duplicated efforts, and the need for extensive coordination can drive up operational costs. Additionally, fixing issues post-deployment can be more costly than addressing them during the development phase.

Quality Issues: Without a tight integration between development and operations, it's easier for quality issues to slip through. Operations teams might not be adequately prepared to support new features, leading to reliability and availability issues.

Customer Dissatisfaction: Ultimately, the consequences of a separated development and operational value stream can trickle down to the end-user. Delays, bugs, and downtimes can harm the customer experience and damage the organization's reputation.

To mitigate these issues, successful organizations bridge the gap between development and operations, fostering a culture of collaboration and shared responsibility. Certain practices can help improve communication, streamline processes, and ensure that everyone is aligned toward common organizational goals, ultimately leading to faster, more reliable delivery of products and services.

Collaborating Value Streams

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