Inside Research: Value Stream Management

Exploring DevOps' Next Level

DevOps’ Next Level: Value Stream Management

Faster isn’t better when you’re running full speed the wrong way. That’s the message coming from the nascent discipline of value stream management (VSM), which seeks to refine and improve the efforts of DevOps teams steeped in the Agile culture of sprints and rapid releases. VSM tools help managers look beyond the numbers on their stopwatch to understand—and act on—the actual value being delivered.

In his just-published report, “GigaOm Radar for Value Stream Management,” GigaOM VP of Research Jon Collins completes an in-depth exploration of the VSM space that includes his earlier report, “Key Criteria for Evaluating Value Stream Management,” published this summer. The just-published Radar report provides a detailed breakdown and assessment of VSM tools and vendors, giving IT decision makers the tools they need to make informed decisions around a VSM deployment.

“Back in the old world, we had very tightly defined lifecycles (remember waterfall?), which were too constraining and therefore dropped in the name of agility and speed. But this had the effect of throwing the baby out with the bathwater, resulting in fragmented, complex pipelines and a loss of visibility,” Collins said in an interview. “As more consistent approaches emerge, organizations will be better able to scale up their software-based innovation efforts. I shouldn’t find that exciting, but I do.”

Collins’ exploration reveals a youthful sector occupied by vendors taking different approaches to a common goal. He says that will change as the sector matures and vendors become more consistent in their approaches. But for now, he finds just two offerings—IBM and Tasktop—worthy of space in the Leaders circle in the GigaOm Radar report (**Figure 1**). However, he sees promise in vendors like, Plutora, and CloudBees as they advance their tooling.

Figure 1: GigaOm Radar for Value Stream Management

How should IT decision makers approach this maturing class of solutions? Collins urges a careful approach. He notes in the report that some solutions—Jira, GitLab, and ZenHub—are platform-specific, while others are designed to integrate with diverse toolsets to provide a comprehensive view. Functional approaches vary widely as well.

There are a lot of tough decisions facing teams deploying VSM to enable intelligent inspection and analysis of DevOps processes, and they are made tougher thanks to the rapid pace of advancement in the sector. A thoughtful approach to selecting a platform is critical to ensure it will support your organization’s needs today and in the future.