Option: Current State Value Stream Map
Lean field guides and textbooks describe many approaches to creating a custom current state value stream map for our context (such as Figure 1). Here is a simple six-step process.
- Identify the actions that take place, keeping in mind that we are mapping the flow of work for one particular increment of work that’s being built.
- Specify the calendar time over which these actions are worked on.
- Specify how much of the time these actions were being worked on actual work was taking place and how much time was spent waiting.
- Specify the amount of time between these steps.
- Look, and denote, any loop backs present in the workflow.
- Total up the average time working on the project.
Plan for steps forward
See the challenges. Use the value stream map to have conversations about the current state and to identify areas of waste. The DA Browser describes options for visualizing the existing process and for identifying potential improvements. A five-whys analysis can help.
Identify actions. Identify areas for improvement using Guided Continuous Improvement and the options offered in the DA browser. To facilitate conversations and analysis, techniques such as Wicked Problem Solving might also be helpful.
Very often, these are the three most important areas to focus on.
- Increments (size of work). How well are we using MBIs?
- Intake process. How well is the intake process working?
- Pull. Is work being pulled or pushed?
Create an improvement backlog. Add the actions to an improvement backlog. Prioritize them. Rather than trying to solve everything, work on a vital few improvements. And then pull the next.
Keep improving. Get the company started with something better and help them understand how to keep improving.
Challenges: Delays and Waste
In particular, we want to focus on delays and waste within the workflow including delays in finding resources, waiting, and getting information, multi-tasking, overloaded people, rework, late detection of problems, hand-offs, unread requirements which affects quality and slows down delivery.