Application development and delivery (AD&D) leaders focusing on velocity and cadence are finding there’s more to software delivery than going fast. These leaders are realizing that shifting their focus from outputs to outcomes can provide greater insight than velocity alone. Using value stream management (VSM) tools, AD&D leaders gain better insight into their organization’s processes for delivering software and whether or not they’re delivering value. Reference customers we recently interviewed noted that once armed with better data, insight, and business connectivity, they were finally able to make meaningful improvements to their AD&D processes.

Our recently published report, “The Forrester Wave: Value Stream Management Solutions, Q3 2020,” identified 11 of the most significant players in this market: Atlassian, Blueprint, CloudBees, ConnectALL,, GitLab, IBM, Plutora, ServiceNow, Targetprocess, and Tasktop. Since our first evaluation in 2018, the VSM tools market has rapidly evolved, with new entrants such as Atlassian and ServiceNow and existing VSM vendors such as Cloudbees, GitLab, and Tasktop bringing entirely new offerings to the table, signifying VSM as an established and rapidly growing market category.

Forrester defines VSM as, “A combination of people, process, and technology that maps, optimizes, visualizes, measures, and governs business value flow (including epics, stories, and work items) through heterogeneous enterprise software delivery pipelines. VSM tools are the technology enabling the practices of VSM.”

Our preceding reports Now Tech: Value Steam Management Tools, Q2 2020, and Elevate Agile-Plus-DevOps With Value Stream Management document the diversity of solutions brought forth by vendors. Some vendors offer VSM bundled with their existing tools, an all-in-one approach to augment their offerings with VSM. Other vendors offer stand-alone VSM solutions that integrate with an existing tool chain. In fact, the top four vendors in our Forrester Wave are split evenly between bundled ( and ServiceNow) vs. stand-alone solutions (Plutora and Tasktop). This diversity of approaches means prospective clients should use our analysis to select the right solution for their circumstances.

Robust Metrics, Analytics, Governance, And Innovative Investments Set These Vendors Apart

When researching VSM solutions, look for the following:

  • Robust and extensible metrics to gain visibility: AD&D leaders often need a crystal ball to predict software delivery dates and discern process trends, but that’s not good enough anymore. Look for VSM tools with out-of-the-box metrics that inform leaders on velocity, capacity, types of work being processed, and work in progress to enable leaders to create baselines and determine how well they’re executing against plan.
  • Analytics that provide data-driven insights: Look for solutions that take metrics to the next level with engines that allow what-if analysis to help decision makers test ideas and hypotheses for removing bottlenecks and increasing throughput. Reference customers praised solutions that offered capabilities that used flow analysis to create correlations between events and changes to KPIs.
  • Automated governance and compliance to enable DevOps at scale: Nearly every enterprise has been able to execute Agile at small scale, but scaling up to the enterprise has presented challenges that are usually the result of cumbersome and manual governance and compliance stages. Our reference customers leveraged VSM to mesh DevOps data with policies to create automated governance. Since VSM tracks work and resources at each stage, nearly all these solutions provide automated audits with traceability. This enables enterprise users, such as an EU bank reference customer, to completely implement automated, continuous delivery at scale.
  • Investments in innovation that drive the VSM market forward. VSM is still a nascent category; customers’ needs and vendors’ innovation to meet those needs will drive its evolution. Innovations such as simulation engines to improve what-if analysis, analytical tools to help correlate events with outcomes, investments in architecture to enable VSM at scale, and investments in AI plus machine learning to augment decision making progress VSM tools forward.

Choose the VSM solution that aligns to your future state, and couple the results of this Forrester Wave with our Now Tech to understand the differences between bundled VSM solutions, stand-alone VSM solutions, and discrete VSM tools and how each aligns with your business’s needs. If you’re a Forrester client, you can read the Forrester Wave report here and the preceding Now Tech report here. If you’re interested in learning more about our findings, set up an inquiry here.