Value ‘Flow’ Map

Note: Each checkpoint can be repositioned, and each transition contains more information when hovered over

The Value

When undertaking large-scale change programs, we want to understand our existing end-to-end processes in order to indentify more efficient avenues to add customer value, or in other words eliminate waste. The Value Stream Map (VSM) is a decades-old lean-manufacturing technique that has been used by thousands of companies to fulfil this exact purpose. Especially in agile transformation programs, it doesn’t take too long until the topic of VSMs start creeping to the surface.

But if we’re all talking about VSMs, why aren’t the outputs of the exercise sitting in a framed poster inside every boardroom or meeting hub? I believe the answer is simple; traditional Value Stream Maps are really difficult to interpret.

Without a detailed workshop or instruction manual they don’t hold much conveyance to the end user. So what if we took these confusing outputs and repurposed them to make them much easier to interpret? By using the metaphor of ‘flow’, which is a key principle of lean manufacturing to begin with, and extending it to represent a pipeline of customer value, it should be much easier to highlight the current state of an organisation’s processes and where the opportunities for improvement lie.


We believe
that by taking the existing outputs of a traditional Value Stream Map (i.e. Lead Time, Throughput, WIP, Defect & Discard Rates)
will enable managers and leaders to easily understand and articulate the overall efficiency of their customer-driven processes
and and lead to structured conversations about optimising said processes where traditional VSMs could not before.
We’ll know we’re right when any member of an organisation can identify their place within ‘the ecosystem’
and understand how their efficincy can impact those further downstream.


  1. For the sake of producing rapid value, try to start with the most understood parts of the process
  2. Involve those who best understand the process, which is usually those performing the work itself
  3. Focus on the work itself, not the individuals contributing to the work
  4. Each workshop should be long enough to involve in-depth discussion, but short enough to avoid fatigue. Typically this means each workshop is 2-4 hours in length.
  5. Operational waste can come in different forms e.g. idling, quality control issues and discarded work.
  6. The Value Stream Map itself will evolve significantly over time, so whiteboards and post-it notes are highly recommended.


After recovering some existing Value Stream Maps created by other parties and repurposing them using the above method. I sat down with some process SMEs and A/B tested the two different outputs, with the following observations:


By taking the key lean principle of ‘flow’ and extending it to be a metaphor for how work is transformed into customer value in an interactive way, it has become easier to understand and identify opportunities to either remove waste, or otherwise optimise customer-driven processes.

If you'd like to know how this visualisation could be implemented in your organisation, feel free to contact us!