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What is Value Stream Mapping?

In a nutshell:

Illustration of a process/workflow with measurement data to reveal insight
Illustration of a process/workflow with measurement data to reveal insight

More detail: What is Value Stream Mapping? and What is a Value Stream?

Here's a summary of how Visible approaches the practice and benefits


  • Where's the Map to Your Pipeline?: Slides
  • Time for What's Next: Slides
  • Value Stream Workshop: Slides

Key points:

Most (81%) team effort/growth/transformation fails because teams and leadership lack visibility into how it improves the business

  • Lack buy in/alignment
  • Arbitrary focal points based on industry benchmarks
  • Arbitrary roadmaps unlinked to reality

Most teams focus on micro optimization instead of starting with a holistic view

  • Mistakenly focus on tools
  • Try to buy a technical solution to a people/process problem
  • Not looking at the big picture

By improving your existing processes, you can regain time to improve.

Stream mapping:

  • Reveals issues/opportunities
  • Builds alignment, communication and understanding
  • Serves as a roadmap for improvement
  • Leverages real data based on current, local reality - not someone else's target

I call this method of improvement Flow Engineering, because it's focused on the flow of one stream at a time, and improvement is rooted in data and quantifiable results.

Remember the current system and process exist because of many actions and events, and blame for the current state isn't going to move you forward. Every step forward is a cause for shared celebration and since we can measure every iteration, there's data to account for every improvement! Sharing your progress is an excellent way to spread learning, good practices and scale the momentum to other teams.

Don't worry so much about the detail of Value Stream Mapping (VSM) - 80% of the value comes from 20% of the parts - focus on the Goal, Steps and Lag time. The main benefit is in creating a visual asset so separate groups (Dev, Ops, Support, QA, etc) can all have a common understanding and point of reference

A Few Of My Favourite Topics:

Read more:

If you're interested in visualizing and improving your organization's value streams, I'm available for hire, you can read more about what I offer here: The Visible Value Delivery System

Related Books I Recommend: