Key Criteria for Evaluating DevOps Value Stream Managementv1.0

An Evaluation Guide for Technology Decision Makers

Table of Contents

  1. Summary
  2. DevOps Value Stream Management Primer
  3. Report Methodology
  4. Decision Criteria Analysis
  5. Evaluation Metrics
  6. Analyst’s Take

1. Summary

The term “value stream” originated in the Lean movement, devised by manufacturing companies (specifically Toyota) to describe the material and information flow used to create value in a manufacturing process. A value stream is the sequence and workflow of activities an organization implements to meet customers’ needs.

Value stream management (VSM) in the DevOps world plays the role of Zen master across software development and operations, asking why things are as they are and whether they can be improved. It focuses on both efficiency (saving money) and effectiveness (adding benefit). VSM tools go hand in hand with best practices, offering real-time insights to help decision-makers:

  • Prioritize development and CI/CD pipeline goals
  • Identify areas for improvement throughout the DevOps workflow
  • Increase the speed of innovation while ensuring efficiency and quality
  • Enable collaboration on digital delivery goals

As such, tools can respond to the need for value stream efficiency by enabling organizations to identify and address bottlenecks in the development, testing, and deployment processes. They can also promote effectiveness by offering measures that link to return on investment, customer satisfaction, and other business-facing criteria. From an engineering and engineering management perspective, VSM tools can show metrics on operations, such as how long it took a pipeline to run, where it failed and why, and include tips on how to make pipelines more effective.

In this report, we review best practices around VSM and look at the table stakes, key criteria, and emerging advancements that are shaping and guiding VSM today. We also consider top-level evaluation metrics to inform decision-making around VSM tool adoption.

We recognize that VSM practices and tools are not an end in themselves, but act as enablers to help organizations scale their efforts and deliver software-based innovation more quickly. As a starting point for organizations looking to adopt VSM today, we offer the following guidance:

  • Start, but do not stop, with efficiency—effectiveness is the ultimate goal.
  • Drive incremental improvements and deliver value at every stage.
  • Integrate VSM tools with broader IT and business dashboards.
  • Manage workflows as products in their own right.
  • Recognize challenges as starting points and catalysts for change.

Note: The terms “pipeline” and “workflow” are used largely synonymously in this report. A value stream can be seen as either one, but with an understanding of its benefits and costs built in.

How to Read this Report

This GigaOm report is one of a series of documents that helps IT organizations assess competing solutions in the context of well-defined features and criteria. For a fuller understanding consider reviewing the following reports:

Key Criteria report: A detailed market sector analysis that assesses the impact that key product features and criteria have on top-line solution characteristics—such as scalability, performance, and TCO—that drive purchase decisions.

GigaOm Radar report: A forward-looking analysis that plots the relative value and progression of vendor solutions along multiple axes based on strategy and execution. The Radar report includes a breakdown of each vendor’s offering in the sector.

Solution Profile: An in-depth vendor analysis that builds on the framework developed in the Key Criteria and Radar reports to assess a company’s engagement within a technology sector. This analysis includes forward-looking guidance around both strategy and product.

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