The Agile Framework Supported by the Knowledge, Product, and Service Value Streams

Shantanu De
3 min readMar 25, 2021

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In this blog, I would like to share my experience in implementing the Scaled Agile Framework by successfully blending the Knowledge, Product, and Service Value Streams. In an Agile Development environment where products are being developed quickly in a shared resource model, the Centralised Knowledge Repository is becoming a critical factor to achieve the required agility.

Each value stream represents a series of steps to deliver a solution that provides a continuous flow of value to the customer. Each value stream is explained below.

Product Value Stream: The product value stream helps to develop a feature of a product in every iteration. An iteration can take two weeks from start to finish. A product-oriented approach helps the organization to respond to internal or external changes quickly; test-driven development is an effective method to achieve the product-oriented approach. While developing a new product, in a shared resource model it is exceedingly difficult to obtain and transmit details of the product quickly among the developers and engineers, hence a centralized knowledge repository becomes a critical factor to overcome this situation. Therefore, we also need a model for the knowledge value stream in parallel to the product value stream.

Knowledge Value Stream: Knowledge value stream helps to retain, share, and cultivate knowledge about the product. It helps the developers and testers who are shared across different products to acquire knowledge about a product from the central repository, also enabling resources to be shared across products. It is recommended that the developers contribute product knowledge to the central repository at the end of an iteration during product development. The Knowledge Value Stream helps the developer to adopt test-driven development by utilizing the knowledge of the product from the central repository. It is also important to have a governance model to manage the knowledge repository and its lifecycle. Different communities of practice (CoP) can be developed within the organization to implement such governance processes. Developers and testers who use this technique might manually produce documentation to capture information about the product and transform it into knowledge — this would work as a short-term solution but due to the masses of time required, it is not practical for large scale or continuous product development. As an alternative, the knowledge can be captured digitally during development using various tools and techniques. A few named examples are: metadata management and business glossary; product and data lineage; inline documentation; wiki; explainable AI; NLP (natural language processing) etc.

Service Value Chain: As integral as the Product and Knowledge Value Streams are to the framework, the Service Value Chain establishes a governance model, which provides standardization across various product teams.

In this article I will cover three different aspects of the Service Value Chain/Stream such as CoP, Service Reliability Engineering (SRE), and blameless culture; it is the CoP which provides rigor in the knowledge sharing and improvement processes.

In 2003 Benjamin Treynor introduced Service Reliability Engineering within Google while running a production team who were providing the support of the Google Web Site and its new enhancement. Later SRE was fully adopted by DevOps in 2008 with cross-functional teams becoming the key aspects of the product-led delivery model in the Agile practice. One of the common aspects of the DevOps and SRE is blameless culture, which helps the agile team to adopt the ‘fail-fast and succeed faster’ approach and deliver a feature in a two-week iteration.

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Shantanu De

Shantanu De is a Principal Architect at Royal Mail Group