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Value Stream Management

How a Global Retailer Transformed Software Delivery Execution in 60 Days

Learn how a retailer utilized VSM to reduce project delays, stay within budget, and effectively track software delivery progress

Published By Michelle Wong
How a Global Retailer Transformed Software Delivery Execution in 60 Days

Every organization is seeking ways to continually refine and optimize their technology management and execution strategies to maintain a competitive advantage. One approach that can offer improvements in both these arenas is Value Stream Management (VSM). This methodology offers a comprehensive view of the entire software delivery workflow accompanied by data-driven insights that enable businesses to optimize their operations from planning to delivery. In this blog, we will explore the practical benefits of VSM through a detailed case study, highlighting how it can transform software delivery.

The Challenge of Visibility and Efficiency in Software Development

In software development, maintaining visibility is a significant challenge due to the complexity of processes, a diverse toolchain, and the need for seamless collaboration and communication across teams. Here are the key issues organizations face:

Fragmented Tools and Processes: Software development environments use multiple tools for different stages like project management, version control, and bug tracking. These tools, while effective individually, create information silos when not integrated, making it hard for stakeholders to get a comprehensive view of the project status.

Lack of Real-Time Insights: Without real-time visibility, monitoring progress and identifying bottlenecks becomes difficult. Traditional project management tools often provide delayed information, preventing timely interventions and leading to project delays and cost overruns.

Misalignment Between Planning and Execution: A disconnect often exists between planning and execution. Executives may have clear strategies, but translating these into actionable tasks that align with day-to-day activities is problematic, leading to resource misallocation and inefficiencies.

Overloaded Teams and Unrealistic Deadlines: Teams frequently face unrealistic deadlines and task overloads due to a lack of visibility into their actual capacity. Overcommitting leads to burnout, decreased productivity, and lower quality deliverables.

Ineffective Communication and Collaboration: Fragmented tools and processes hinder effective communication across the organization, leading to misunderstandings, duplicated efforts, and overlooked tasks.

Managing Technical Debt and Dependencies: Technical debt slows down development and increases bugs, but is impossible to manage without visibility into its extent. Similarly, inter-team dependencies can cause delays if not clearly understood and proactively managed.

Addressing these challenges requires an integrated approach. Value Stream Management (VSM) can provide a comprehensive solution to enhance visibility and efficiency.

Benefits of Implementing VSM Software

VSM in software delivery is a holistic approach that provides visibility and insights into the entire workflow of a project, from inception to delivery. By integrating teams, tools, and processes, VSM helps organizations identify bottlenecks, reduce waste, improve efficiency, and ensure alignment with business goals. This approach is particularly beneficial in complex environments like software development, where multiple teams and processes need to be coordinated effectively.

Implementing VSM software can address these challenges by providing a unified platform that integrates data from various tools and processes and delivers insights based on the entire software delivery lifecycle. Here are some key benefits:

Enhanced Visibility: VSM software offers real-time insights into the workflow, enabling stakeholders to monitor progress, identify bottlenecks, and make informed decisions.

Improved Efficiency: By streamlining processes and identifying redundant activities, VSM helps teams focus on high-priority tasks and reduce lead times.

Better Alignment: VSM ensures that all activities are aligned with business goals, enhancing the overall strategic impact of projects.

Increased Agility: With a clear view of the workflow, organizations can quickly adapt to changes and re-prioritize tasks as needed.

Unlocking the Power of VSM: A Real-World Case Study

A global retailer approached Planview with significant issues in their software delivery process. Despite having a mature planning and allocation system, IT remained a “black box” to executives and the project management office (PMO). They faced delayed projects, budget overruns, and an inability to track progress effectively. Planview embarked on a 60-day journey with the retailer, leveraging their VSM platform to uncover insights and drive improvements.

Initially, Planview conducted a technical validation to understand the retailer’s existing tools and processes, ensuring seamless integration with the VSM platform. Within the first week, Planview provided a combined visualization of all work commitments across departments. This revealed that many tasks had been in progress for over 1000 days, prompting discussions on prioritizing current high-priority tasks over outdated ones.

The VSM platform also helped identify systematic bottlenecks in the development process, highlighting dependencies between teams that caused significant delays. This insight allowed the retailer to allocate resources more effectively and better synchronize their internal release cadences.

Moreover, the retailer discovered that a significant portion of their budget was being spent on fixing bugs rather than developing new features, prompting a re-evaluation of their relationship with outsourced IT vendors and a focus on improving quality.

By week five, the retailer could measure the actual ability of its teams to execute work compared to what had been committed. This data-driven approach enabled them to rebalance workloads and increase delivery velocity.

At the end of the 60 days, the retailer experienced significant improvements in visibility, efficiency, and alignment. They realized there was no need to increase their IT outsourcing spend, since their internal teams could deliver more effectively with improved processes and automation.

Adopting VSM for Transformative Software Delivery

This successful transformation illustrates the power of Value Stream Management. By providing enhanced visibility, improving efficiency, and ensuring alignment with business goals, VSM can revolutionize project management and execution. For organizations facing similar challenges, adopting a VSM solution can lead to significant improvements in delivery times, budget adherence, and overall project success.

Ready to see how VSM can transform your organization’s software delivery? Watch an on-demand demo of Planview’s VSM platform today and discover the insights and efficiencies it can bring to your workflow.

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Written by Michelle Wong

Michelle Wong is the Content Strategist for Planview's value stream management and software toolchain integration solutions for software delivery. Her content focuses on digital transformation topics including Project to Product, Flow Framework, DevOps, Agile, and SAFe.