Sep 28, 2022 . 10:36am

Unexpected takeaways from Value Stream Management Report 2022

Unexpected takeaways from Value Stream Management Report 2022 by VSM Consortium

I am glad that Value Stream Management is getting traction across the technology domain, though the concept deserves promotion and adoption beyond that. Today's operational challenges like the fragility of the supply chain, clumsy and customer-last patient experience in healthcare, employees burnout the list might go on. These are symptoms of the flow management problem, and it would be interesting to get insights into value stream management practices among other domains/industries.

Users' needs first and buyers' interests second

It was not surprising to see the list of impediments an organization encounters adapting value stream management practice. More than 52% of challenges fell into buckets of resource constraints (time, money, and skill), conflicting with other change programs, and lack of leadership support. These challenges indicate the demand on the market for a lightweight, easy-to-use, and easy-to-try solution that people can try and experiment with before making an investment decision.

Another indication of why a value stream management tool should, first of all, address the needs of people in the field is the answers to who are the change agents for the value stream. According to the report, 74% of roles wearing the change agent hat are people working within value streams, in contrast to 26% of c-level and other categories.

Challenges of value stream management adoption
Change Agents and Value Stream Management

Value stream modeling instead of value stream mapping

"Mapping is intended to be used as a continuous improvement tool; with maps revisited and recreated to measure the journey as the improvement experiments are executed. But when the practice is seen as resource intensive, creating a regular cadence can be difficult. The data show that most teams have mapped their value steam(s) only once (38%) because it is a manual and intensive exercise." 

I am thoroughly convinced if a team doesn't update its value stream map every month or at least a quarter, then this team doesn't practice value stream management. I cannot disagree with the recommendation to use cross-platform tools to surface mapping metrics. However, I would not stop with that and recommend converting maps to dynamic models so people can unfold the root causes of observation and make an objective improvement decision.  

The second of the most prevalent reported challenges is the repeatability of the value stream mapping exercise. Of course, it is tedious and time-consuming to recreate a map from scratch over and over again. The value stream model alleviates such pain because you can connect it to underlying systems facilitating a value stream. Even a single system should be enough for the model to synthesize the rest of the data so you can calibrate it with reality, eliminating another challenge of opinionated data. 

Once you calibrate the model, you can explore your improvement decisions and their impact on performance and finance to defend your change decision in front of the leadership and make it happen.   

In contrast to a static value stream map picture, VSOptima is the platform embracing the value stream model approach so that you can overcome the reported shortcomings of a classical static value stream mapping. 

Challenges of Value Stream Mapping Practice
Frequency of value stream mapping

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