To be clear, I am referring to Lean’s (not SAFe’s) definition of the value stream – the set of actions that take place to add value to a customer from the initial request to delivery. The value stream begins with the initial concept, moves through various stages for one or more development teams and on through final delivery and support. You can’t define value streams – they are what is. You can, however, map them, define a “to be” value stream and you can improve them.
Flow suggests we look at the value stream and strive to lower cost of delay. Lean thinking provides supporting principles of systems thinking, just in time and building quality in.
Value streams give us a direct view of how to make better decisions to remove delays, manage queues, and organize our talent with the intention of reducing the cost of delay.
Most everyone claims they are based on Flow and Lean thinking. But most only provide practices that are only loosely related to the value stream. A direct view of how how to improve the value stream is necessary for continuous improvement. Your approach should provide insights on how to make decisions that directly improve the value stream, not merely practices that don’t work everywhere.