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Copado on Copado: How to drive visibility + ROI with Value Stream Maps

Find out how Copado DevOps leverages Value Stream Maps to unlock software lifecycle visibility and drive end-to-end speed and quality within Salesforce and other low-code SaaS platforms.

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The ability to create software in low-code environments is gaining traction — both within the Salesforce ecosystem and across the DevOps space.

Breaking down the code barrier with low-code functionality can help teams move faster and decrease the time-to-market of important builds. As more companies move to the cloud and build on an array of enterprise platforms, the composition of teams has shifted to include both pro-code and low-code developers who are empowered to create with clicks and configuration rather than code itself.

What’s more, teams are more spread out than they’ve ever been in today’s post-pandemic landscape — with many choosing to work remotely. Success for these teams hinges on their ability to collaborate and build together seamlessly on the same platform.

The Challenge: Boosting time-to-value at a rapid scale

As enterprises focus on low-code development to drive greater time to value, they’re also scaling rapidly. Effective scaling requires tightly integrated, cross-platform DevOps processes that unite low-coders and pro-coders in one system. 

Copado is no different. With a completely remote workforce expanding rapidly across the globe, we needed to ensure teams and management had the visibility required to work effectively.

“We needed to make changes that allowed us to work effectively with a global, distributed workforce. At the same time, we needed to enable our growing team in India. We needed a process that ensured everyone was on the same page.”
- SANJAY GIDWANI | CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER | COPADO

“From a process standpoint, we wanted to understand where we could optimize the way we work,” Gidwani says. “We asked, ‘What are the next iterations we can make for our teams to continuously improve?’” Our engineering and operations organization knew they needed greater visibility and a more effective way to monitor process, growth, and velocity. That’s when we developed — and implemented — Value Stream Maps.

Say goodbye to guesswork with Value Stream Maps

To increase the flow of value to the customer, practitioners need to know what’s working in their system and what isn’t. But until they have visibility into their value streams, all they can do is guess.

Tools like Copado’s Value Stream Maps not only help visualize and define the way value is provided to the customer, they also assist with tracking development metrics within and across stages of work. These metrics are (crucially) presented in a non-technical way to facilitate understanding across the business.

By stripping back technical jargon while maintaining the underlying metadata, stakeholders
gain the insight needed to drive discussions around priorities, budgets, trade-offs, and resource allocation — empowering them to both deliver value to the customer and simultaneously capture ROI for the company.

Perfecting the process

At Copado, using Value Stream Maps extends far beyond creating visibility within and across teams. It’s also about process refinement and improvement.

“Right away, we saw two areas to dig into,” says Jeldrick Schmuch, Product Development Manager. “We talked with the team about the issues and strategized how we could ease those bottlenecks. After a few small adjustments, the number was cut by more than half the next time we looked at it.”

For instance, Copado tackled an issue where front-end pull requests sat waiting for almost two weeks before being addressed. After viewing the data, our developers facilitated a productive team-led discussion on how best to reduce waiting time. Based on this discussion, our developers made the decision to start checking outstanding pull requests during their morning routine. That small change alone halved waiting time to just seven days.

Cross-functional collaboration

Copado’s development teams have found Value Stream Maps to be a highly collaborative tool that facilitates productive discussions at all levels. Reports are run weekly to analyze the data and look for any issues or opportunities. If a red flag is found, engineering managers have a discussion with the team to get a better understanding of the numbers.

During these discussions, the team suggests what improvements can be made in the following cycle — giving the team more input and control over the way they operate.

Next, the report is shared with product owners and upper level management — including the
SVP of Product and the COO — to give them the opportunity to make their own assumptions and ask questions. This level of involvement and visibility allows leadership to keep a close eye on sprint progression, velocity, and resource allocation.

Translating insights into improvements

The insight gained has sparked team-level decisions about the optimal number of developers per team, how many developers to add to the organization, and the best way to prioritize what’s included in builds and releases.

For example, Value Stream Maps revealed bug investigations coming from the support team had an unusually long lead time. Why? Because support was mixed in with the regular development activities of a sprint.

Our development teams and management collaborated to create a new team that focused solely on investigations. After one month, the difference has been night and day

Unlocking visibility from top to bottom

With new layers of data added every week, our entire organization has the opportunity to learn something new about what works and what doesn’t in our business.

“This type of visibility is invaluable,” says Gidwani. “We started using Value Stream Maps as our teams became completely remote. As we grow, they continue to create alignment and visibility. Each week, we analyze the information and make changes in order to ensure teams are operating at the right level.”

And this visibility is paying off.

Not only has the engineering team more than doubled since Value Stream Maps was
implemented, we successfully onboarded an entire team of remote employees without a hitch. Within a five-sprint period, our engineering teams enjoyed a reduction of pipeline bottlenecks and an avalanche of productivity.

Thanks to process improvements in Copado’s DevOps pipeline, we’ve been able to ease bottlenecks, reduce waste, and leverage developers to streamline builds more efficiently.

With increased visibility in the end-to-end DevOps lifecycle, our internal teams are equipped to deliver a higher volume of work at an accelerated pace.

“The sooner you have information, the better decisions you will make.”
- MARTIN BORTHIRY | VP OF PRODUCT ARCHITECTURE | COPADO

Leveraging Value Stream Maps to advance Copado’s mission

For Copado, Value Stream Maps is an essential piece of our data-driven DevOps practice. As a platform built to make release days obsolete, Copado’s ultimate aim is to supply technologists with the DevOps tools they need to work together more effectively across clouds.

DevOps is all about continuous integration, delivery and iteration — and Value Stream Maps can highlight opportunities for improvement almost immediately. Plus, because it’s so visual, teams can easily dive in to get an understanding of progress.

Without visibility into how teams work together or a good way to consistently monitor important indicators of progress, our development teams would not be able to implement targeted, strategic improvements as accurately as they can today. Ultimately, through our releases, we empower a wide range of customers in a broad scope of industry verticals to deliver impactful work and achieve their business goals.

In today’s fast-paced, multi-cloud environment, the ability to make quick, strategic decisions based on measurable insight into how teams operate is no longer a competitive advantage — it’s table stakes for enterprises looking to stay relevant.

“It’s about aligning processes to technology so you can learn something,” Gidwani says. “Insight into your business processes based on what you measure will help you make decisions faster.”

“The biggest advantage of using Value Stream Maps is that we are fully aware of what we do as a company and what it takes to deliver value to our customers.”
- FEDERICO LARSEN | CTO AND CO-FOUNDER | COPADO