CIO’s and CTO’s struggle with development efforts that keep going months or even years after the expected ship date either through a series of small schedule slips, missed customer expectations, or programs that just never seem to be done. How many times have we heard “it will be done next Friday” or look at a budget justification for the next year that includes the same deliverables as this year, a development in free-fall? Many projects use “value streams” to identify the relative value contribution of different backlog stories or elements of an application to the overall opportunity. When the stories are actually costed – in agile, assigning points – some programs are adding a value component to prioritize the backlog. This improves project decision making from the business or product owner perspective, since it is no longer the development team picking the backlog tasks that are easiest, or “coolest”; instead, we have a system of value points assigned by the customer (or proxy) and a set of costs estimated by the implementation team. This can drive a better discussion in the agile cycle and change backlog planning from an “all-or-nothing” approach with high amounts of internal investment to one which is transparent with value delivered. This new, more granular approach reduces non-value-added feature development and overall project cost by identifying when the team should ship and move to maintenance mode.