The Wonders of Value Stream Mapping

Finding out what is important to your project is all about realizing its value to the project and the customer.

In this article we explore the value of teams perform a useful technique called Value Stream Mapping, in it we find out what value is, what a value stream is and how mapping value streams are important to uncover the value to a project, stakeholders and your customers.

What is value?

Value is what's important to customers. What value is depends on your project and what you want it to achieve. However, your customers mostly because it's what they appreciate and are willing to pay for. So, clearly we need to know what this is, and we need to know what value to deliver. 

What is value streaming?

It is the activities, transactions, material and information flows required to deliver this value to your customer. A value stream is all the end-to-end process activities, resources, and information used to transform inputs into outputs that are salable to customers. 

What is a value stream map?

A graphical visual representation of the value stream is called the value stream map. 
Value Stream Maps shows all the steps involved in getting a product or service from supplier to customer. It shows the material and information flows from order to delivery.

How is it different from a process map? 

Think of a value stream map as a type of high level process map showing the end-to-end process. Additionally however, it includes customer data, process data, and information flows particular to the value stream.

How to map a value stream

Walk the process and observe. Obtain estimates from people directly involved or get estimates from the collective experience of the project team. 
The important thing is you get a sense for where value is added and where waste occurs.
Value stream mapping find where waste is in a process. The visual technique maps out a time series of activities to deliver a result. For instance, look at creating a current state value stream map of the current process. Then analyzes the process to improve it, for example, you could create a future state values stream map that presents what it will look like once the improvements are implemented. 

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Photo by Nikita Kachanovsky on Unsplash

Value stream mapping is more comprehensive than a process flow diagram, and it focuses on waste. By identifying and analyzing the queue time between steps, as well as making each step's cycle time more efficient, improved solutions can bring huge value to customers and users.
Value stream mapping is a great visual for groups to collaborate on. It's a bit more complex than some models to draw, so practice makes perfect! 
Try drawing it out a few times to really get a full grasp of it so you feel you have mastered it, this will solidify your technique.

The value stream map enables a project team to capture the current state of the value stream. Look at doing it as a group so you and your team can evaluate the value stream for improvement opportunities, brainstorm to improve upon it, and then visualize the future by developing a future state value stream map.

Good luck!