Every few years it seems like there’s some new trend that seems eerily similar to ITSM. There are so many buzzwords and trendy practices in IT. It’s hard to determine what practices are worth evaluating and implementing.
This year, the newest contender in the digital space is Value Stream Management. Is Value Stream Management the new ITSM? Is it just another trend that will fade into obscurity in a few years or is it worth investigating?
What is Value Stream Management?
According to the lean.org website, lean thinking “changes the focus of management from optimizing separate technologies, assets and vertical departments to optimizing the flow of products and services through entire value streams that flow horizontally across technologies, assets and departments to customers”.
Value Stream Management helps organizations optimize and manage its value streams by applying lean thinking in a consistent way across the organization.
Value stream management identifies and examines value streams as opposed to specific “features and functions.” A value stream consists of the steps an organization takes to continuously deliver value to customers. Many IT organizations need to start identifying and understanding their value streams instead of their features and functions so they can demonstrate how they drive business value. Value stream management will help them to do that.
With value stream management, we can see where value is created and where it is lost so it allows an organization to optimize the delivery of products and services by reducing waste and improving efficiency. It’s truly a holistic end-to-end approach that many organizations need.
Since it is an end-to-end approach, value stream management also links technology efforts with the business outcomes to support better collaboration. For value stream management to be effective, an organization must understand how its products and services are related to business goals. For IT, value stream management identifies where it must collaborate with the rest of the organization on these products and services.
How does Value Stream Management relate to ITSM?
Value stream management is the superstructure and IT service management (ITSM) fits within that superstructure. Value stream management monitors and manages entire value streams. ITSM is one component of those value streams.
Value stream management can make your ITSM practice much better. Because it monitors entire value streams, value stream management will identify the opportunities and weaknesses in your ITSM approach.
But ITSM doesn’t just need value stream management to be effective. Value stream management needs IT service management, as well. While value stream management shows how workflows through organization including where there are delays and opportunities for improvement, it doesn’t provide specific details regarding how technology outputs contribute to valuable outcomes. That’s the role of ITSM.
Once value stream management has identified opportunities for improvement for each value stream, ITSM can then create the proper processes and services to improve those value streams, which in the end will deliver more value to the customer.
In short, value stream management illustrates the bigger picture that shows how ITSM contributes to the business, where ITSM can be improved, and why those improvements matter.
How Can You Incorporate Value Stream Management and ITSM into Your Organization?
Many ITSM implementations have gotten too far down in the weeds with how IT manages its products and services. Value stream management can help resolve that issue.
Value stream management will help leaders and the C-suite see the full picture of how and where technology is driving business value. They’ll be able to better understand why investments in ITSM should be made because value stream management shows where ITSM plays a vital role in delivering value to the customer.
To start incorporating value stream management in your organization, start by identifying the value streams within your organization and create a simple value stream map for each. A value stream map will help “connect the dots” how the different areas of the organization work together to deliver value.
Also, become an expert on the business of the business. This includes learning the language of the business; what the business does to deliver value to the customer; and understanding how the parts of the business interact to deliver that value to the customer. This will also help you gain the support and credibility you’ll need from your business colleagues.
Value stream management is not the new ITSM – but it will improve your ITSM and bring more value to your organization as a whole.Share