Delivering value to customers is a top priority for every company. But, this is easier said than done—obstacles like inefficient team collaboration and communication, organizational issues, lack of visibility, and resistance to change can hold you back.
What if we tell you this: you can unify your team, turn customer requests into a quality solution in record time, and drive continuous improvement? No, this isn’t a dream—it’s a development value stream. 🌊
Development value streams (DVS) define everything you and your team need to do to develop a product or service and deliver value to your customers or successfully respond to their requests.
In this article, we’ll go for a swim in development value streams and explore their benefits and ways to optimize them and maximize their potential. We’ll also uncover common pitfalls and offer suggestions for improving them.
- Understanding Development Value Streams
- Benefits of Development Value Streams for Teams
- Types of Development Value Streams
- Development vs. Operational Value Streams
- Optimizing Development Value Streams
- Common Pitfalls in Value Stream Management and How to Overcome Them
- Tips to Enhance Development Value Streams
Understanding Development Value Streams
Before digging into ways to optimize and leverage development value streams, we need to take a step back and explain what they are.
We’ll start by defining value streams in general—they represent a series of actions you need to take to bring value to customers and respond to their needs. 🎯
Let’s explain this with a simple value stream example—you work in a software development company and your customer has requested a new feature for their media streaming platform. A value stream defines everything you and your team need to do to make this happen, from brainstorming and writing code to testing, collecting feedback from the customer, and monitoring performance.
Development value streams focus only on the development part. In our example, a DVS entails brainstorming, planning, organizing work, writing code, testing, and deploying the final solution.
Numerous teams are a part of a DVS. You have product managers who turn the customer’s initial request into a clear vision and define business objectives. Then, you have designers, software developers, and engineers who work together to breathe life into the customer request.
Business analysts could also be a part of a DVS—they analyze current processes to create strategies for continuous improvement and proper resource allocation. Depending on the project’s nature, system admins and project managers could also be called to pitch in their two cents.
Organizing people in a DVS gets everyone on the same page, improves communication, and ensures all teams are synchronous, allowing effortless value delivery to your customer.
Benefits of Development Value Streams for Teams
We won’t lie—organizing a DVS isn’t exactly a walk in the park. You need to get many people of different backgrounds and functions on board, and everyone needs to be open to changes. This may sound like an impossible mission, but it’s very much worth it—optimized and efficient development value streams bring a wealth of benefits for you and your customers.
Developing any product is a team effort, and when the team is out of sync, the end result is often subpar. With development value streams, you set a common goal that brings value both to the customers and your company. You also identify critical handoffs, i.e., points where you pass on your work to another team.
When everyone involved has the same goal in mind and knows how they fit into the big picture, they can work efficiently and run toward the finish line with confidence. 🏁
Mapping out development value streams helps you analyze tasks and set priorities. You can quickly identify tasks that are irrelevant to achieving the goal and don’t bring much value. Eliminating less critical activities from the stream shortens the time-to-market without affecting the quality of work and the final product.
When you create a value stream map, you’ll be able to pinpoint bottlenecks that hinder your team’s performance, like improper budget and resource allocation and time spent on unnecessary tasks. With development value streams, you’ll reduce waste and skyrocket efficiency.
Having all development value streams laid out gives you a clear idea of your team’s work. Every task and detail is transparent and defined against KPIs, which helps you collect data and track performance. This data is your fuel for making informed decisions in the future and supporting continuous improvement.
Your customer’s needs and market conditions can and will change over time. With well-organized development value streams, making last-minute tweaks isn’t the end of the world—it’s something you plan for and have no problem executing.
Types of Development Value Streams
Development value streams can be divided into four types or patterns corresponding to different application areas—fulfillment, manufacturing, software product, and support.
Fulfillment DVS pattern
This DVS pattern focuses on fulfilling customer needs by delivering a digitally-enabled product or service and getting paid for it. Customers can be consumers (B2C) or other businesses (B2B).
A common characteristic of this pattern is frequent customer interactions—the customer is present in various parts of the stream.
You’ll often see this pattern in banking, insurance, finance, e-commerce, and other service-based industries.
A simple example of a fulfillment DVS pattern is selling insurance policies. You receive a request from a client and put together an offer. Then, you issue and deliver the policy, thus fulfilling the customer’s requirements. After that, you occasionally check on the client to see if they want to update their policy. In case of a claim, the client will reach out to inform you and start the process.
Manufacturing DVS pattern
This pattern supports products that need to be manufactured before use—otherwise, they don’t have any value.
You could say that this pattern is narrower, as its only focus is the manufacturing process itself and the materials necessary for it. A simple example would be making a smartphone—a manufacturing DVS pattern would describe the procurement of materials, managing inventory, and assembling parts according to the established procedures and specifications. The pattern also includes processes for packing the smartphone in a specific box, storing it safely, and shipping it.
The complexity and the number of manufacturing DVS patterns depend on the nature of the product in question. For example, assembling a vehicle is far more complex than manufacturing a candle. 🕯️
Software products DVS pattern
This pattern revolves around manufacturing a software product, be it a smartphone app, desktop software, or a game. The main focus of this pattern is, you guessed it, the software itself—it outlines everything that goes into creating software, the starting point being receiving an order.
Let’s say your customer wants a new feature in their company’s app. You process the request, and your team starts working on it. You may even have several teams on the project, depending on the feature’s complexity. The stream describes every step and activity necessary for incorporating the feature. Your customer is involved in the stream—you’ll update them on the progress and check if they want something done differently.
Supporting DVS pattern
A supporting DVS pattern outlines everything going on in the background that keeps your company up and running. In this case, the DVS is internally oriented—customers are actually your company’s employees.
A simple example is developing and maintaining a software tool the entire company uses to communicate internally.
Development vs. Operational Value Streams
Operational value streams (OVS) focus on everything your team members need to do to deliver value. While a DVS revolves around development, an operational value stream is broader and concerned with day-to-day operations, maintenance, and overall customer experience.
Operational and development value streams are interconnected—we could say that a DVS focuses on turning an OVS into reality.
Optimizing Development Value Streams
Optimizing development value streams saves time, effort, and money and makes your team united and efficient. Below are some of the best strategies for getting your value streams in top shape.
Create value stream maps
Value stream mapping represents visualizing every step in a specific process. These maps give you insight into the current state of your business processes and let you identify areas of improvement to boost efficiency and deliver even more value to your customers with minimal waste. 🗺️
Save time, improve accuracy, and remove the burden from your team by automating repetitive or routine tasks. Which tasks you can automate depends on your industry and the specific products and services you’re offering. For example, if you’re a software company, you may be able to automate testing, project and task management, or data entry.
Foster collaboration and communication
Efficient cross-functional collaboration and communication are the pillars of an optimized DVS. You need to foster a supportive and transparent environment and encourage everyone involved in a DVS to work together and contribute to streamlining processes.
You can achieve this with different collaboration tools like mind maps and whiteboards. Encourage creativity and ensure your team members aren’t afraid to speak their minds about potential issues. Create a culture that thrives on constructive feedback and sails smoothly toward the same goal.
Most importantly, ensure everyone understands their roles and responsibilities in the DVS to avoid misunderstandings, duplicate work, and delays.
An efficient DVS focuses on high-priority activities and processes that bring the most value to the customer. Every other activity is a distraction and can be completed only once top-priority tasks are crossed off.
Efficient prioritization depends on your communication with the client—every piece of info needs to be laid out clearly on both ends. The same goes for internal communication—if your team doesn’t understand priorities, they’ll wander off and take the flow of value in the wrong direction.
Constantly monitor performance
You’ve optimized your DVS and can sit back and relax—not really! You never know what the future holds, which is why you need to keep a watchful eye on your value streams.
Establish key performance indicators (KPIs) that help you track your streams’ performance. These value flow metrics will ensure you pick up on every change and adjust your DVS accordingly to maintain its efficiency and achieve desired business outcomes. 📈
Constant monitoring will also help you notice potential risks and find ways to overcome them before they turn into significant issues that could prevent you from delivering value.
Common Pitfalls in Value Stream Management and How to Overcome Them
Value streams can revolutionize your workflows, but if they’re not properly organized, they can cause chaos. Let’s explore some common challenges in managing value streams and ways to overcome them.
Resistance to change
Organizing a value stream involves digging deep into current processes and highlighting existing issues and inefficiencies. This can be intimidating—many leaders, managers, and entire teams fear the problems that could be uncovered, which is why they may resist adopting value streams in the first place.
Overcoming this resistance to change isn’t easy and should be done gradually. Efficient communication with your team is vital—explain why you’re mapping value streams and relay the potential benefits.
Don’t penalize those who express resistance—try to understand their perspective and find a solution that works for everyone. Most importantly, train and support cross-functional teams throughout the process to make the change easier for them.
Lack of collaboration
We’ve already said that collaboration is an essential ingredient for efficient value stream management. Everyone involved in the stream needs to understand their duties to contribute to the goal. Cross-functional collaboration is imperative to ensure smooth handoffs and no hiccups along the way.
If you want a well-organized business value stream, you need to foster a culture that prioritizes collaboration. You can use collaboration platforms with tools that help you visualize goals, brainstorm, and bounce ideas off each other. Encourage your team to speak up about even the smallest issues that could affect the stream’s performance.
Informal gatherings and team-building events are excellent ways to get to know your team outside of work and strengthen the bond to ensure smooth collaboration.
Tips to Enhance Development Value Streams
As we’ve seen, your value streams can’t thrive without mapping out your processes, identifying bottlenecks, ensuring seamless collaboration, and keeping a close eye on performance. You can do all that and much more with ClickUp.
ClickUp is a project and task management platform with various collaboration and business process mapping tools that boost morale, encourage brainstorming, enhance transparency, and provide the perfect environment for dynamic teamwork.
ClickUp’s various features allow it to wear many suits—it can serve as mind mapping software, collaboration software, and even vendor management software. It comes in handy for developers, retailers, freelancers, DevOps project managers, engineers, virtual assistants, accountants, and various other professionals.
Let’s explore the ClickUp features that can enhance your development value streams.
ClickUp Mind Maps
Mind maps are diagrams that visually organize information and outline relationships between concepts.
ClickUp Mind Maps lets you create such diagrams with simple drag-and-drop actions—connect dependencies to represent processes, ideas, and projects.
This convenient feature is perfect for outlining your development value stream. Name all tasks and actions that are a part of your stream and create connections between them to ensure easy navigation and progress monitoring. You can create, edit, and delete tasks without leaving ClickUp Mind Maps, keeping your work centralized and organized. Assign tasks to the right person or team and ensure everyone involved in the stream can track its performance.
ClickUp Whiteboards and Tasks
Want your team’s input on creating a new development value stream or updating an existing one? There’s no better tool for that than ClickUp Whiteboards!
These digital canvases are ideal for visual collaboration—invite your team to a Whiteboard and let them write or draw their ideas. Then, discuss these ideas using notes, comments, or the ClickUp Chat view. Breathe life into the best proposals by creating ClickUp Tasks and linking them to your Whiteboard. That way, you’ll clearly visualize your value stream and have a detailed overview of everyone’s responsibilities.
ClickUp Whiteboards feature a drag-and-drop design, so you can easily group ideas and concepts and make adjustments as necessary.
You can build your Whiteboards from scratch or use ClickUp’s Whiteboard templates if you need a leg up.
Use ClickUp value stream mapping templates
ClickUp makes mapping out value streams easier with value stream mapping templates. They are compatible with Agile methodologies and provide the necessary framework for mapping your processes from start to finish and ensuring maximum transparency and efficiency.
All templates focus on encouraging cross-functional collaboration, reducing costs, making informed decisions, and enhancing customer satisfaction by delivering value, helping you execute your projects with flying colors.
Stay on Top of Your Development Value Streams with ClickUp
High-performing development value streams require efficient collaboration, transparency, and constant monitoring—areas in which ClickUp excels! It is packed with features that make creating, optimizing, and tracking development value streams a breeze.
Sign up for ClickUp today and get ready to reinvent your value stream mapping game!