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GigaOm Key Criteria for Evaluating Value Stream Management (VSM) Solutionsv4.0

An Evaluation Guide for Technology Decision-Makers

Table of Contents

  1. Executive Summary
  2. VSM Sector Brief
  3. Decision Criteria Analysis
  4. Analyst’s Outlook
  5. About Dana Hernandez

1. Executive Summary

Over recent years, the cadence of software delivery has increased from months or years to a matter of weeks. While this means greater agility and innovation, it comes at a cost: application complexity and process fragmentation can cause inefficiency, development pipelines may hit bottlenecks, and resulting applications may not be optimized for user needs. In today’s more cost-conscious climate, organizations cannot afford to fund their technical departments without a clear indication of a return.

Value stream management (VSM) offers insights across the development process and its outputs. In business terms, VSM frameworks and tools bring process improvements to software delivery. Software development processes are characterized as value streams, building on existing lean engineering terminology and emphasizing value delivery.

Since we started this report series four years ago, the VSM space has continued to evolve. Engineering management dashboards have been expanded to deliver business-facing information; meanwhile, vendors have matured to measure the software development lifecycle in more depth.

In this report, we consider the needs of both engineering management and business leadership, focusing on optimizing software development outcomes while minimizing the overheads of its production.

We evaluate VSM features and how well vendors enable best practices—the cultural and process changes necessary across engineering teams and beyond. We review the ways solutions measure efficiency targets (test coverage and pipeline cost), as well as internal metrics such as developer well-being, and measurable business outcomes such as improved service levels, customer experience (CX) and adoption, and increased revenues.

We recognize that VSM is a moving, maturing, and broadening target. We see VSM on a journey toward better software development and operations practices within a cloud-based architecture. Connections with other “XOps” areas (GitOps, NetDevOps, SecOps, FinOps) represent other sides of the same mountain; at the same time, categories such as software development/delivery analytics (SDA) address specific needs. Practices across these areas will inevitably converge and align over time.

Business Imperative
VSM enables businesses to oversee the end-to-end software lifecycle and measure its success or bottlenecks. It allows organizations to improve the way teams deliver high-quality CXs. The ultimate goal is to reduce unnecessary waste by eliminating or minimizing steps that do not add value to the customer or business. By doing this, it is possible to boost efficiency and productivity, reduce waste, and focus on optimizing value in every process for the company’s benefit. This helps leadership focus on improvements and make well-informed decisions based on well-understood metrics and strategic key performance indicators.

Sector Adoption Score
To help executives and decision-makers assess the potential impact and value of a VSM solution deployment to the business, this GigaOm Key Criteria report provides a structured assessment of the sector across five factors: benefit, maturity, urgency, impact, and effort. By scoring each factor based on how strongly it compels or deters adoption of a VSM solution, we provide an overall Sector Adoption Score (Figure 1) of 4.6 out of 5, with 5 indicating the strongest possible recommendation to adopt. This indicates that a VSM solution is a very credible candidate for deployment and worthy of thoughtful consideration.

The factors contributing to the Sector Adoption Score for VSM are explained in more detail in the Sector Brief section that follows.

Key Criteria for Evaluating VSM Solutions

Sector Adoption Score







Figure 1. Sector Adoption Score for VSM

This is the fourth year that GigaOm has reported on the VSM space in the context of our Key Criteria and Radar reports. This report builds on our previous analysis and considers how the market has evolved over the last year.

This GigaOm Key Criteria report highlights the capabilities (table stakes, key features, and emerging features) and nonfunctional requirements (business criteria) for selecting an effective VSM solution. The companion GigaOm Radar report identifies vendors and products that excel in those decision criteria. Together, these reports provide an overview of the market, identify leading VSM offerings, and help decision-makers evaluate these solutions so they can make a more informed investment decision.


The GigaOm Key Criteria report provides a detailed decision framework for IT and executive leadership assessing enterprise technologies. Each report defines relevant functional and nonfunctional aspects of solutions in a sector. The Key Criteria report informs the GigaOm Radar report, which provides a forward-looking assessment of vendor solutions in the sector.