Going With the Flow: ARCAD Reveals the IBM i Value Stream Metrics That Matter to You

Value Stream Management (VSM), a lean business methodology that started in manufacturing but has since become ubiquitous in the digital industry, has radically changed the way software is developed. Essentially, VSM “maps” all areas of a business process that contribute to the creation and release of a product, from inception to shipment. In an effort to bring transparency to the flow of value, and to glean insights that can be used to eliminate waste and rapidly innovate, VSM also connects IT to business and allows for greater understanding of where value lies and what activities are mission critical.

Powered in part by open-source and proprietary heavyweights Grafana and Kibana, ARCAD dashboards bring a powerful suite of data visualization and analytic UI’s to legacy IBM i platforms. They’re designed specifically to be the comprehensive VSM tool IT managers need to truly understand their value flow.

VSM is all about knowing exactly where and how your value-adding activities (also known as flow items) are performing over time, and throughout the system. In software, flow items can be value-creating or value-protecting, and  fall into four categories: features, defects, risks, and debt. ARCAD Dashboards present a grand view of your DevOps flow and provide visualizations and alerts based on VSM industry-standard flow metrics.

ARCAD Dashboards VSM maps fall into five critical areas: Flow Velocity, Flow Distribution, Flow Time, Flow Efficiency, and Flow Load.

Flow Velocity, is otherwise known as throughput, the output rate of completed items over time. Flow velocity can also offer insights into another metric–productivity–and you can see how efficiently work hours are being spent.

Flow Distribution reveals the ratio of the different types of flow items, or any particular item over a given period of time. This allows one to balance work types and prioritize jobs so they are in line with business goals.

Flow Time references cycle time, or the total amount of time required for a flow item from start to finish. This metric is essential to knowing if your cycle time may be trending upwards or downwards.

Flow Efficiency looks at the proportion of flow items being worked on versus how many are waiting in queue. Flow Efficiency can reveal bottlenecks and lets you watch for trends in non-value-adding work.

Flow Load displays the total number of items at any given time in the system, or the work in progress (WIP). Typically, high WIP is a sign that inefficiency has crept into the system. Flow Load analysis can also show areas where flow velocity could be increased, and flow time be minimized.

Numerous case studies point to how VSM has led to marked improvement in companies’ product delivery. Instead of swimming against the current, ARCAD dashboards lets IT managers understand, respond to, and ultimately tune their value stream flows for maximum profitability.

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