Industrial DevOps: Principle #1 Organizing for the flow of value to build better system faster!

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I recently learned about a generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) capability that debuted 45 days ago and was now being referred to as obsolete. Technology is evolving at an unprecedented pace. What was groundbreaking yesterday becomes obsolete today. In this rapidly shifting landscape, being the first to market with a new feature, capability, or even an entirely new product can provide a significant competitive advantage. How do we reconcile this need for speed in highly regulated environments such as the domains that cyber-physical systems live in? Industrial DevOps provides some patterns to safely build cyber-physical systems rapidly.

The first principle

The first principle in Industrial DevOps is to visualize and organize around the flow of value. There has been a fundamental change in business priorities moving away from achieving economies of scale to being able to deliver product at the speed of need. Especially in areas of cyber-physical safety-critical systems. There are tradeoffs to every organizational structure, but, If the goal is speed, a flat structure organized around the product being developed is required. In the past businesses organized around functional activities, such as systems engineering, hardware engineering, software engineering, test engineering, etc. The approach allowed people to specialize in narrow areas to create economies of scale for wide volumes of product. However, this type of organizational structure creates multiple hand-offs and requires extensive documentation. To achieve the level of speed required teams need be organized around value streams, and the teams building the systems within the value stream include people with all the skills needed to improve the flow of value and shorten delivery cycle.

The idea of “organizing around the flow of value” serves as a guidepost for this new world we live in. But

what does it mean, and why is it important for Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS)? This blog aims to provide a deep dive into the concept and describe its relevance for CPS.

What is the Flow of Value?

In simple terms, the flow of value refers to the seamless and efficient movement of products and services from the origin of the need (source) to the delivery of need (consumer) while maximizing value and minimizing waste. This principle began with Lean Management and has been expanded across various contexts, from hardware design to software development and supply chain optimization.

Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS)

A CPS is an engineered system that integrates computational elements (software) with physical processes (hardware). Sensors and actuators embedded in physical objects are linked through wired and wireless networks to computing systems. When a CPS is referred to as “safety-critical,” we are saying that the system has the potential to impact human life, the environment, or the well-being of communities. Examples of safety-critical cyber-physical systems include automotive, aerospace, energy, public infrastructure, and health care. In these areas we must be both fast and safe which is where the Industrial DevOps principles apply.

What are the steps to organize around the Flow of Value in CPS?

To begin organizing around the flow of value for CPS begin the key steps outlined below.

1. Define value – Identify stakeholders and define what value means to each stakeholder in terms desirability, feasibility, and viability.

2. Map the value stream – Identify what system components and actors (e.g., sensors, actuators, software modules, teams) and how they interact. Document how system is built from initial need through manufacturing to operations.

3. Organize teams / architecture – Structure teams and architectural components around stakeholder value propositions ensuring safety and security are first class citizens.

4. Build feedback loops – Establish mechanisms for continuous feedback from real-world operations back into the development and maintenance cycles. Investing in digital twins can reduce time to feedback through automation

5. Iterate and Improve – Revisit the value streams on a regular cadence to adjust based upon change in stakeholder value propositions.


Organizing around the flow of value isn’t just a nice-to-have feature; it’s a necessity to deliver safely at the speed of need. Organizing around value improves maximizes both safety and efficiency in delivering safety-critical cyber-physical systems. The world has changed don’t be left behind.

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