Updated Extended Guidance Article: Value Stream Management in SAFe


We first published our thoughts on Value Stream Management (VSM) in September of 2021. That article was a reminder of the importance of value streams in SAFe and an introduction to the five principles of Lean thinking that guide their effective management:

  1. Precisely specify value by specific product
  2. Identify the value stream for each product
  3. Make value flow without interruptions
  4. Let the customer pull value from the producer
  5. Pursue perfection

Since then, in our own pursuit of perfection, we realized that we had left out a key piece of value stream management—the managers! Not the ‘bosses’ per se, but the people responsible for actively managing the value stream.

Traditionally, this job has often fallen to a single person, the ‘value stream manager.’ In SAFe, however, it involves a group of people (including a value stream manager, or equivalent, if present) who collectively ensure the value stream’s ongoing health and efficiency.

Business Owners define value stream KPIs and guide value stream outcomes in alignment with strategic business goals. ART and Solution Train triads lead the ongoing execution of VSM activities that produce the outputs required to satisfy those KPIs. Together, they instill Lean thinking across the organization and ensure that the entire value stream is effectively and continuously optimized.

The VSM article has been revised to reflect this crucial partnership. It also contains new guidance on applying SAFe principle #1 – Take an economic view in conjunction with customer-centricity and design thinking to specify value more precisely.

See the updated article for all of the great new details and a refresher on the many practices in SAFe that intrinsically enable VSM.



Author Info

Marc Rix

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