Technique 51

Process Map/Value Stream Map

Flesh out the details of your process.


Process maps are basic flowcharts that depict the progression of steps, decisions, and handoffs involved in transitioning a new product or service from paper (its design) into production/delivery to customers. Value stream maps do this too, but they add a level of sophistication related to time and the identification of value-added versus non-value-added activity (waste identification).

For instance, designing inflatable movie screens that can float in pools is one thing, but making them is another. It's the same with transactional processes like those in banking and insurance: There's no substitute for a robust, well-documented, and efficient process that all can see and follow.

Process and value stream maps can be used in one of two ways: to document the as-is process the way it currently runs, or to document the future state of the process if it hasn't been developed, tested, and implemented. Obviously, in the context of innovation, these maps are used to develop the future state. While you can apply them without the help of an expert or facilitator, it's best to enlist one, especially when building value stream maps.

Using a process or value stream map to document how work will be accomplished—how process inputs are transformed into process outputs—creates necessary consensus and positions the organization needs to implement an innovation as planned, with quality and reliability. No mishaps, ...

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