Key Criteria for Evaluating Value Stream Management (VSM) Solutionsv3.0

An Evaluation Guide for Technology Decision-Makers

Table of Contents

  1. Summary
  2. VSM Primer
  3. Report Methodology
  4. Decision Criteria Analysis
  5. Evaluation Metrics
  6. Key Criteria: Impact Analysis
  7. Analyst’s Take
  8. About Jon Collins

1. 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.

Enter value stream management (VSM), which 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 three years ago, the VSM space has continued to evolve. Engineering management dashboards have extended 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 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 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.

This GigaOm Key Criteria report details the capabilities (table stakes, key criteria, and emerging technologies) and non-functional requirements (evaluation metrics) for selecting an effective VSM solution. The companion GigaOm Radar report identifies vendors and products that excel in those capabilities and metrics. Together, these reports provide an overview of the category and its underlying technology, identify leading VSM offerings, and help decision-makers evaluate these solutions to make a more informed investment decision.

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.

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