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Value Stream Management

How VSM Software Addresses Everyday Portfolio and Engineering Challenges 

Learn how incorporating VSM software into your project management can accelerate the efficiency and effectiveness of your software development teams.

Published By Maik Hassel
How VSM Software Addresses Everyday Portfolio and Engineering Challenges 

Value Stream Management (VSM) is crucial in software development as it provides a comprehensive view of the entire workflow, from ideation to delivery. This visibility is necessary to manage the productivity of development teams and ensure that software is delivered on time, on schedule and on budget. 

In this blog, I’ll explain how VSM, through solutions like Planview Viz, can address common challenges faced by portfolio managers. You will learn how VSM solutions can improve collaboration between portfolio managers and software engineering teams through real-time insights, an integrated toolchain, and end-to-end visibility that improves overall efficiency and unlocks capacity. 

Day-to-Day Challenges in Software Development 

As the VP of Product Management at Planview, I often hear from portfolio managers who lack visibility into project status, have difficulty predicting delivery times, and struggle to adapt when plans require pivoting. These issues stem from the traditional black-box nature of engineering, where getting a real-time, accurate view of progress and the bottlenecks that contribute to hidden delays and inefficiencies is significantly challenging. Not knowing what software engineering teams are working on or when the work will be done can lead to major challenges when it comes to managing budgets and resources. Moreover, it makes it difficult to discuss shifting requirements with stakeholders in the absence of precise insights.  

Addressing Engineering Challenges with VSM Software 

VSM software emerges as a powerful solution addressing intricate portfolio and engineering challenges. By providing unprecedented visibility into the entire value stream, VSM software reveals bottlenecks, delays, and inefficiencies, enabling teams to proactively optimize workflows. It facilitates seamless cross-functional collaboration, breaking down silos and fostering continuous improvement. Leveraging VSM software across three key areas can empower organizations to unlock agility, responsiveness, and innovation in their engineering processes. 

Top 3 Features of VSM Software 

1. Dashboard and Insights

The dashboard in Planview Viz provides a comprehensive view of key health indicators and Flow Metrics. Unlike traditional engineering metrics, Flow Metrics focus on true end-to-end value delivery. These metrics span the entire software development life cycle, from ideation to release and operation. This holistic view allows software engineering managers to identify bottlenecks and pinpoint inefficiencies across product teams, engineering, and DevOps.  

By having access to real-time data, they can see exactly where delays are occurring and take proactive steps to address them within their own teams. They can also give their colleagues in portfolio management a more accurate view of when products will be delivered to market. This level of insight is essential for maintaining a high level of productivity and ensuring that projects stay on track. 

An example of a Flow Metrics insights dashboard from Planview Viz  

2. Integration Across Tools

One of the standout features of a VSM solution is its seamless integration with a variety of existing tools. With Planview Viz, teams can also integrate with tools like Planview AgilePlace and JIRA. This integration ensures that workflows are automatically synchronized across different teams and tools, reducing the need for manual updates and minimizing the risk of errors.  

For instance, while the product team might be working in Planview AgilePlace, the engineering team could be using JIRA. Planview Viz acts as a single source of information, consolidating data from both tools and providing a unified view of project status. This integration not only saves time but also ensures that everyone is on the same page while still allowing teams to work with the tools they prefer.  

3. Real-Time Data Utilization

The ability to utilize real-time data is a game-changer in both software delivery and project management. With Planview Viz, managers can quickly identify issues such as delivery delays or quality problems as they arise. For example, a dashboard that is a sea of red signals upcoming delivery issues that require immediate attention and likely collaboration between engineering teams and their portfolio management counterparts. Real-time data allows for quick adjustments and course corrections, ensuring that projects stay on schedule. It also enhances accountability, as all team members have access to the same information and can see how their work impacts the overall project timeline. 

3 Transformative Benefits of VSM Software  

VSM software is revolutionizing the way engineering teams operate and collaborate with portfolio managers, ushering in a new era of transparency, efficiency, and continuous improvement. By providing unprecedented visibility into the entire value stream, this powerful solution is transforming engineering processes from opaque black boxes into well-oiled machines optimized for maximum performance. Implementing VSM software unlocks a trifecta of transformative benefits that empower organizations to achieve engineering excellence and drive business success in today’s fast-paced digital landscape.  

1. Improved Time to Market  

VSM solutions help reduce feature completion time and predict delivery schedules more accurately, which benefits both engineering teams and portfolio managers. For example, when software delivery teams see that features take six months to complete, they can initiate a review and prioritization exercise to address the delays. By streamlining processes and eliminating inefficiencies, VSM software can significantly improve the speed at which features are delivered to market. 

An example of how Planview Viz visualizes Flow Timethe amount of time it takes to complete a feature. 

2. Enhanced Quality and Reduced Defects

Visibility into workflows allows for better management of defects. If a significant portion of a development team’s capacity is spent on defects, it’s clear that quality issues need to be addressed to free up resources for feature development. By identifying and addressing defects early in the development process, VSM software helps to maintain high-quality standards and reduce the overall number of bugs. 

An example of how Planview Viz visualizes Flow Distribution—the allocation of different work items (features, defects, technical debt, risks) across a value stream. 

3. Prioritization and Resource Allocation

VSM allows software engineering managers to make smarter decisions about how they prioritize work and allocate resources. By understanding the team’s capacity and current workload, managers can ensure that the most critical tasks are prioritized to keep them aligned with the organization’s strategic priorities. This strategic allocation of resources helps optimize productivity and ensures that the team remains not only efficient but also effective. 

An example of how Planview Viz visualizes Flow Loadthe amount of work items actively in progress within a value stream, indicating the level of work in progress (WIP). 

Accelerate Transforming Plans into Execution with VSM 

Incorporating VSM software like Planview Viz into your project management practices can significantly improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your software development teams. The transparency and insights provided by VSM tools enable better decision-making, leading to more predictable and reliable delivery schedules. I encourage you to consider how VSM could transform your own software development practices. 

For a deeper dive into the benefits of VSM and to see it in action, watch our on-demand demo. If you have questions or want to connect, book a call with a Planview VSM expert. 

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Written by Maik Hassel VP of Product Management, Planview

With over 30 years of experience in all aspects of the software product delivery chain, Maik is responsible for both Planview Viz and Flow Fabric, Planview's connector landscape for Planview Viz and Planview Hub.