What Value Stream Mapping is
A value stream is the sequence of activities we undertake to deliver a customer request. Value stream mapping helps us visualize complex work systems so we can address the disconnects, redundancies, and gaps in how work gets done. A Value stream map reflects the customer’s experience, contrasted by the internal focus of process-level maps.
What we’re doing
Expose debt at risk / increase the realization of unrealized value
- Understand how the organization manages change
- Highlight system constraints
- Provide a measurable basis for optimization
- Use rational, value-based information for organizational change
Creating a VSM
Creating the value stream map is a team effort that includes everyone involved in the actual process, and is not based on following “procedure documentation”.
- Decide on the bounds of the map
- First pass: Discuss and document the process steps
- Second pass: Document measurements
- Reflect on optimization for the future state
- Document the future state
- Create actionable steps to implement the future state
- Cycle and re-evaluate recurrently
- Wait (wt): The time it takes from submission of a request till work starts.
- Value added (v): The work time it takes to fulfill a request.
- Unneeded non value-add (u): The time spent on irrelevant tasks.
- Needed non value-add (n): The time spent on compliance tasks.
- %FPCA (p): The rate at which incoming requests are deemed sufficiently correct for work to begin.
- Lead time (l): The time it takes to fulfill a request (wt+v+u+n).
- Waste (w): Time not spent on value-adding tasks (l - v).
- Efficiency (e): Value added time as ratio of elapsed time and lead time (v/w).
- True Efficiency (te): FPCA factored in (v/p)
Conducting the session and participants
Strive to have a sponsor with executive privileges, and invite a wide representation of roles from the organization that contribute to the delivery of software from “concept to cash”.
Ideal participant roles:
- Application owner
- Business Product manager/owner
- Project manager
- Application architect
- Platform architect
- Development lead
- QA lead
- UX lead
- Infrastructure lead
- Ops lead
- Compliance lead
- Security lead
- Performance lead
- Deployment lead
- CAB representative
- Customer support representative
Setting the scope for the sessions
- Select the process to be mapped
- Define the extent of the process to be covered. Optimally, it would be “concept to production” to see the end-to-end flow of work.
- Selecting a limited scope may lead to misinformed local optimization.
- Selecting a large scope will be rewarding, but logistically challenging.
Creating and using the VSM
- Collect the data and create the map for the current state
- Detail all the steps in the workflow, recording the measured parameters for each step
- Connect the steps, including ‘reject paths’ to show cycle between steps and groups
- Reflect on the current state
- Look for possible local optimizations, using the measured attributes, which may include adding as well as removing steps
- Create an alternate, future state VSM with proof that it produces value more efficiently
- Create an action plan to implement the new VSM
- Cycle and measure the impact of the new VSM
Here is an example in a data sheet:
Use the results to eliminate waste
A non-exhaustive list of first steps:
- Create a frictionless path to production
- Treat bugs as non value adding waste
- Eliminate partially completed work - reduce work in progress (WIP)
- Reduce task switching. Do one thing, allocate people to a single task
- Remove non-value self-imposed rules
- Reduce handoffs (feature-based teams)
- Reduce delays between teams (pull system for needed roles)
- New Lean Toolbox Toward Fast Flexible Flow (2004), Bicheno, John, Picsie Books.
- Learning to See (2009). Rother, Mike and Shock, John, Lean Enterprise Institute.