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How To Build Value Stream Maps Using Kanban

September 12, 2023
Bill Kimball

Value stream mapping is a flowchart method to illustrate, analyze and improve the steps required to deliver a product or service. A key part of lean methodology, VSM reviews the flow of process steps and information from origin to delivery to the customer.

Get leadership’s buy-in for the value stream mapping project, given the potential costs involved. It’s possible you might use a smaller VSM, showing potential improvement, to help gain leadership’s buy-in for a fuller look. It may not be possible to eliminate all the wastes at once, so consider creating multiple value stream maps to represent intermediate stages in the journey toward your ideal state. Once you’ve identified all the lean wastes in your value stream, you can complete your map.

  • In this hands-on workshop, we’ll start at the very beginning and teach you how to build a Value Stream Map and use that to define your inital Kanban and WIP limits.
  • Think of it as an element of a project that a customer would pay for.
  • Start by deciding what specific steps you’ll map out on the board and stick to that scale until you’re sure it would be efficient to expand into other areas.
  • It’s important to keep in mind that customers, whether external or internal, care about the value of the product or service to them, not the efforts it took to produce it, or the value that may flow to other customers.

The latter is better if you’re working with lots of data because it can easily be shared and tracked later on. Once you have your tools, it’s time to get started. Now, do the VSM walk, as outlined in upcoming steps 6-11. Walk the process steps and information flow required to put out the product or service. Some veteran practitioners do the walk in reverse, starting with the customer.

From The Course: Stay Lean With Kanban

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value stream kanban

The number of operators can also be noted in the circle.TimelineCommonly placed at the bottom of the value stream map, the timeline shows waiting times (the “troughs”) and processing times (the “hills”). Value stream mapping is a powerful method to ferret out waste in any process, not just manufacturing.

How To Build Value Stream Maps Using Kanban

Lucidchart’s library is stocked with standard value stream mapping symbols so that you can precisely place them in your diagram with just a click. Determine the problem for the value stream for this product, from the customer’s standpoint. You could use A3 analysis of root causes to do this. Make sure the customers’ concerns are clearly understood, since they are the ones defining value. It’s possible that customers might be demanding a price reduction based on competitors, or that quality control problems are reducing value, or that production delays are causing customers to look elsewhere. The wording here includes examples from lean manufacturing, but you can apply these steps to software engineering, service industries, healthcare or other fields, as discussed earlier in this article.

Once you have all your steps and processes represented visually, it’s crucial to correctly indicate the flow of information and materials. Add lines and arrows to help visualize the path of knowledge and physical resources through your production system.

This is where kanban-thinking needs to be taken into account in drawing value streams. As your understanding and contexts change, your value stream will also change.

value stream kanban

To get started using these symbols, head over to the Value Stream Mapping Template for editable print and PowerPoint templates. Value streams, by design, should be as independent as possible. However, there is likely to be some coordination required to ensure that the enterprise moves forward with each value stream in lockstep with the enterprise and portfolio objectives. Value stream coordination is the entire subject of the Coordinationarticle. Organizing in functional silos inhibits value deliveryOrganizing around value motivates rethinking how solutions are developed and deployed.

Each development value stream represents a substantial investment for the enterprise. Therefore it is prudent that there is some reasonable governance applied to evaluate how a value stream is performing against its intended business outcomes.

Examples are inventory type and size, cycle time, change-over time, machinery or process uptime and downtime, number of workers, shifts worked, available working hours and batch size. All of these could result in finding efficiencies and cutting waste. Add that process data to the data boxes of your Value Stream Map. However, keeping those caveats in mind, an individual could try VSM on a budget for a simple review that might produce results or at least help you to better understand VSM. After reading up on the basics (and you’re off to a good start with this article), you might just grab a pencil and legal-size pad, and armed with the step-by-step instructions listed later in this article, start mapping. You’ll map out the process steps, data for each step , improvements you think you could make for an “ideal state,” and a summary showing how your improvements help each data point and overall value. Just keep in mind that this would be a tiny taste of what expert value stream mapping can accomplish.

How Kissflow Project Helps In Value Stream Mapping

A value stream is the primary construct for understanding, organizing, and delivering value in SAFe. Each value stream is a long-lived series of steps used to create value.

value stream kanban

You can easily create sophisticated project boards with as many stages as you want, assign tasks to team members, and set deadlines. In physical manufacturing, this is when steps in the process could be located next to one another but are geographically spread out. In the digital world, this is passing an item among more people than necessary. VSM is a group effort; identify stakeholders from each department and collaborate to make your value stream maps. Set aside some time for your lean value stream mapping a few hours to a whole workday depending on the complexity of your organization. Originally conceived for use in manufacturing facilities, value stream mapping is useful in any industry or business in which items must pass through multiple departments and phases before delivery to the customer.

Value Stream Mapping Symbols

Words like stream,flow, and value are all difficult to pin down. In tip number one, we want to match reality as closely as possible. We will never draw a map that perfectly matches our workflow forever.

There are two kinds of value stream maps, current state and future state. Moreover, once a value stream is identified, additional analysis is required to define the development value stream boundaries, people, deliverables, potential ARTs, and other data. Figure 3 provides a Development Value Stream Canvas, a simple tool that stakeholders can use to capture their emerging understanding . You should follow the whole value stream yourself.

The proof is in the pudding, or so the saying goes — and the more tangible evidence you have, the easier it’ll be to get everyone on-board. For this to work, you’ll need to get buy-in from everyone on the team, so take the time up front to explain the process and the benefits. Information is displayed visually, which makes it easier for you to see the different workflows and then assess each one according to whether or not it adds value. Systematically improve your digital transformation journey while scaling Agile and DevOps across the enterprise. See this in-depth article on VSM symbols and how to use them.

If Youre Creating A Digital Kanban Board, Input The Same Information Into Your Platform Of Choice

You detail each significant process step and evaluate how it’s adding value—or not adding value—from the customer’s standpoint. That focus on value keeps the analysis targeted to what really matters, allowing the company to compete most effectively in the market. Foreseeing or facing any competitive threat, lean practitioners can make good use of VSM to produce the most value for the customer in the most efficient way possible. It can and should be used on an ongoing basis for continuous improvement, bringing better and better process steps on line.

Turn The Vsm Into A Kanban Board With Appropriate Wip Limits

Lucidscale Visualize, optimize, and understand your cloud architecture. Unnecessary or straining movement by workers, like looking for tools or information that should be readily available. People unable to do their part because the resources they need are unavailable or a previous process is behind schedule. See why Asana is not efficient to manage projects and why you need a Asana Alternative. But at some point in the plant, the components are machined, and this is usually hard to establish as a straightforward pull systems as some components will be runners, and some will be strangers.