What Value Stream Mapping Practitioners Need to Know

Posted by Marbenz Antonio on December 28, 2022

4 Reasons to Utilize Data Visualization Software | Inzata Analytics

The ITIL 4 framework, introduced in 2019, emphasized the importance of co-creating value and managing value streams rather than following a process-based approach to IT service management (ITSM). It emphasized the need for value stream mapping and provided detailed guidance for ITSM practitioners in the ITIL 4: Create, Deliver and Support publication.

Want to know more about ITIL 4? Visit our course now.

Despite its importance, some ITSM practitioners might not be familiar with value stream mapping or have only a basic understanding of it. This blog aims to provide a more comprehensive understanding of value streams, how they can be beneficial, and how to adopt and take advantage of value stream mapping in an organization.

Value streams

This blog discusses value stream mapping, but it does not assume that readers are already familiar with the concept of value streams. According to ITIL, a value stream is: “A series of steps an organization undertakes to create and deliver products and services to consumers.”

It’s important to carefully consider the nuances of the definitions provided above and to understand that value streams are typically distinct from processes. For ITSM, value streams will utilize various aspects of ITIL management practices or ITSM processes to move from a demand-based trigger to the delivery of value.

Value stream mapping

Value stream mapping is a Lean manufacturing technique that helps organizations create more value for customers while using fewer resources. According to ITIL, it is defined as:

A Lean management technique to visualize the steps needed to convert demand into a value used to identify opportunities to improve” and a value stream map is “A visual representation of a service value stream which shows the flow of work, information, and resources.”

Although the first definition might suggest that the value stream map itself is the most important aspect of value stream mapping, the true business value comes from the process of creating the map. Whether an organization is documenting the current or desired future state of a value stream, the key benefits come from the collaboration of various business stakeholders in identifying waste in the value stream, such as inefficiencies, bottlenecks, quality issues, and the need for rework.

How organizations benefit

As mentioned earlier, the process of creating value stream maps is valuable, but it is only a means to an end rather than the end itself. This is reflected in the following list of benefits of value stream mapping:

  • Greater customer focus
  • Improved collaboration between different teams and potential business functions
  • A shared understanding of the end-to-end value stream
  • The identification of operational, service, experience, and outcome improvements
  • Greater appreciation of how an individual or team’s work impacts others
  • New operational insights that were hitherto unnoticed
  • The identification of wastage, such as bottlenecks, delays, and reworking
  • The identification of low or non-value-adding activities
  • Risk identification
  • Operational optimization, including time efficiencies and cost reductions
  • People resource optimization
  • Automation opportunities can be identified and justified in value terms.

How to undertake value stream mapping

Value stream mapping involves a collective and collaborative effort. Without it, the resulting value stream map is likely to be incomplete, inaccurate, and ineffective, as it will only be based on a limited set of perspectives. This collaboration typically takes the form of meetings or workshops where different teams document the work they do to turn demand requests into value, with people writing what they know about the various elements of the value stream on Post-it Notes.

There is a wide range of guidance available on value stream mapping, but drawing from the ITIL 4 Create, Deliver and Support publication, here is a paraphrased summary of its content:

  1. Define the value stream being worked on by describing the demands, triggers, outcomes, and value.
  2. Document the steps and activities involved in moving from demand to value delivery, including what is needed and what happens at each stage.
  3. Divide the steps into actions and tasks if necessary
  4. Document what’s required to complete the steps, actions, or tasks successfully.

However, the mechanics of value stream mapping are only one aspect of its success, with the involvement of people being equally important. This includes:

  • Having the necessary knowledge and expertise to apply the value stream mapping technique
  • Developing personal skills that encourage people’s participation and eventual consensus
  • Obtaining value stream knowledge from people who play different roles in the end-to-end stream.

In addition to the importance of involving people in the value stream mapping process, there are other factors that can impact its success. Firstly, people are crucial to the accuracy of the resulting value stream map(s), particularly in ensuring that what is documented and agreed upon reflects the actual operational reality. Secondly, there are motivational considerations that should not be overlooked. For example, participants should feel comfortable sharing their knowledge without fear of negative consequences, such as pointing out that actual operations differ from the agreed or mandated ways of working.

Here at CourseMonster, we know how hard it may be to find the right time and funds for training. We provide effective training programs that enable you to select the training option that best meets the demands of your company.

For more information, please get in touch with one of our course advisers today or contact us at training@coursemonster.com

Verified by MonsterInsights