Identifying Value Streams

Identifying value streams is the process of mapping out the set of independent process flows that an organisation takes to deliver a product or service to its customers.


The primary purpose is to maximise value delivery by ensuring that each value stream is optimised for efficiency, effectiveness, and sustainability. It helps in identifying bottlenecks, redundancies, and opportunities for improvement in the software development lifecycle.

  • Improved Efficiency: By focusing on value delivery, unnecessary steps can be eliminated, streamlining the development process.
  • Enhanced Collaboration: Encourages cross-functional collaboration and understanding, bridging gaps between different areas of expertise.
  • Increased Flexibility: Facilitates a more adaptive and responsive development process, capable of quickly adjusting to changes.
  • Better Alignment: Ensures that development efforts are closely aligned with business goals and customer needs.


Industry Context

Products grow over time and become more complex, making it harder for teams to understand the end-to-end process. This slows down development because it makes changes to the product more complicated as well as increases the risk of unintended consequences due to the interconnectedness of the system.

ZeroBlockers Context

The core aim of ZeroBlockers is to remove the blocking dependencies that slow down development. By identifying independent value streams, we can start to separate out the codebase into separate streams that can be developed independently. By shrinking down the scope of each stream, we make it easier to understand the full scope of each individual codebase and reduce the risk of unintended consequences when making changes.


Customer Journey MappingA visual representation of the customer's interactions with the product or service.Creates a top-level view of the customer's key interactions with the product or service that can be used for further exploration like Event Storming or Opportunity Solution Trees.
Event StormingA collaborative, visual modelling session that brings together domain experts to map out events and workflows.Facilitates deep understanding of the domain, identifies key events and interactions.
Defining Value Stream BoundariesIdentifying the boundaries of each value stream to ensure clear ownership and autonomy. This may involve duplicating code or data to ensure independence.Increases autonomy of teams and reduces coordination overhead.
Success Metrics DefinitionEstablishing clear, measurable goals for each value stream to evaluate their performance and impact.Provides focus and alignment, enables objective assessment of progress.

Other Methods

MethodDescriptionZeroBlockers Opinion
Value Stream MappingA visual representation of the end-to-end process flow of delivering a product or service.Value stream mapping focuses on the internal processes involved in delivering value to the customer. But our internal processes are often dictated by our current structure (Conways Law). Customers only care about how their problems are solved so it is better to start with the customer journey and then map the internal processes that support that journey.
Splitting by FeaturesDividing the product into distinct features or capabilities that can be developed independently.Splitting by features is a common way to divide up the work but it can lead to overlapping responsibilities between teams. It is better to start with the customer journey and then split the work based on the events that support that journey.


  • Overly Granular Value Streams: Defining value streams that are too granular can lead to inefficiencies and impede team autonomy.
  • Neglecting Interdependencies: Failing to consider interdependencies between value streams can lead to bottlenecks and integration issues.
  • Static Value Streams: Treating value streams as static entities can hinder the ability to adapt to changing market demands.

Case Studies

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