Best practices for Value Stream Mapping workshops


Value Stream Mapping is an advanced problem solving technique that is used to map the current state, to identify critiques and opportunities, and to create the future state.

We do value stream mapping workshops on a regular base, but what can we learn from them? This posts focusses best practices in the area of preparation, execution and follow-up of the VSM workshop.

Defaults like “start on time”, “training”, etc. are omitted, unless it’s considered critical.
I am sure there are many more best practices ready to be shared, so please do!

Preparation of the workshop

  What was learned? Why is it critical?
1 Logistics: Make sure you reserve at least two hours. Avoid stopping before the future flow and action plan are created
2 Logistics: make sure the room is large enough, book in time, check available tools, create workshop kit with different colored Post-Its and markers. Avoid loosing time on start
3 Logistics: make your brown paper large enough for the process, but not too large. Be able to capture the complete process, but avoid loosing yourself into the details.
4 Pick your main contributors. Avoid actions & results which are not accepted after the workshop.
5 Choose a third party facilitator when diving into political/sensitive issues or you are a key contributor yourself. Facilitation & contributing at once is not possible.
6 Map high level flow with eg. SIPOC Save time during the workshop
7 Observe the value stream: walk the process Talk with people who do the work to get insights and critiques. Find inputs and outputs. Discover and experience all steps.
8 Decide on the goal of the workshop. Avoid analysis paralysis.

During the workshop

  What was learned? Why is it critical?
6 Clarify the role of the coach. Avoid the impression of supervision or audit.
7 Agree on the VSM scope with the group. Set focus/goal. Avoid discussions on workshop start.
8 Respect the order of the steps: map the current flow first, find critiques for the process and design future flow. We need the AS IS first before we can start with the TO BE process.
9 Waste & value. Repeat what value means for the customer. Repeat the 8 wastes with the group: Transport, Inventory, Motion, Waiting, Overproduction, OverProcessing, Defects, Unused human talent. Hang for display. Prepare for critiques.
10 Start from the last step Start from the end product. Determine yourself where to stop: test, develop, design, analysis. Make sure you have measurable end product
10 Strong facilitation. When in problems maintain the process. Stay out of the content. Adjust agenda to group dynamics.
11 Use visual management to differentiate between steps, roles, inputs and critiques. Keep the overview. Avoid confusion.
12 Look actively for rework and “go back” loops. Identify and eleminate waste. Increase delivered value.
13 Deliver clear action plan with assigned follow-up responsible. Make sure the road to results is paved.

After the workshop

  What was learned? Why is it critical?
13 Follow-up on action plan. Ensure personal actions that were assigned and agreed are follow-up.
14 Digitalize flow. Avoid loosing the time spent. Keep result for further optimations.
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