Ending Zombie Projects: How Value Stream Management Can Help

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A recurring question for many IT teams today is why are we doing this?

This question is fundamental, some might say basic, but often teams don’t get clear and precise answers. Moreover, it points to a broader lack of visibility and understanding. Why was the current one chosen among the many potential initiatives considered? At a higher level, what are the arguments behind the relative staffing and budget priorities for products, support, and operations? Why are some teams well resourced and others underperforming? Even worse, what if teams find out they spent a lot of time on a “zombie” project, meaning one that has lost sponsorship? For example, a few weeks after a team leader leaves, they may find out that an initiative they’ve put a lot of effort into is no longer supported and will be shelved before it sees the light of day.

When teams spend time on zombie projects or operate in the dark in terms of how their efforts align with business priorities, their productivity, morale, and results can suffer.

This highlights why establishing Value Stream Management (VSM) is such a vital task.

Simply put, VSM is about delivering maximum value to customers. With VSM, teams aim to ensure that value streams are properly funded, defined, aligned, measured and optimized.

VSM can give managers transparency into the work being done and how it aligns with their investment. In addition, VSM is about bridging the gap between business and IT.

With VSM, development teams and their management can better understand the purpose of their work and how it brings value to customers and the organization.

VSM platforms can be an integral part of realizing this potential. VSM platforms can help teams manage work and investments across the enterprise. Work can be viewed not only from a top-down perspective, but also from a bottom-up perspective. This is beneficial for a variety of reasons. At the most basic level, teams that understand why they are being asked to work on a particular initiative will have a higher level of engagement and commitment to making that initiative a success.

Practically speaking, understanding how the work aligns with the organization’s strategic goals allows project teams to make more informed decisions about the approach to use, how to overcome problems, and so on. In an agile environment where success depends on the authority of teams, this level of transparency is critical.

Transparency isn’t just important for the teams doing the work. APM and related support functions must ensure efficient use of resources, which means ensuring the best possible combination of business outcomes. Only when they can see the end-to-end integration of the work – from the goal to the investment decision and the work plan – can they make intelligent choices about priorities and schedules. The same goes for product owners. Their focus is different from the PMO, but they must translate the business vision into technical priorities, and this can only happen with end-to-end transparency.

Advanced VSM platforms can provide a solution for teams across the enterprise. These platforms can support planning, decision-making, investment and resource management, from IT to business leaders. With VSM platforms, teams can stop working in the dark and avoid wasting time on zombie projects.

To learn more about ValueOps, Broadcom’s VSM platform, be sure to visit our ValueOps VSM page. Learn how you can add value to your customers and increase visibility and alignment within your organization.

Explore ValueOps Value Stream Managementbuilt to manage what you value most.

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