Value stream mapping

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Value-stream mapping usually employs standard symbols to represent items and processes, therefore knowledge of these symbols is essential to correctly interpret the production system problems.

Value-stream mapping is a lean-management method for analyzing the current state and designing a future state for the series of events that take a product or service from its beginning through to the customer. At Toyota, it is known as "material- and information-flow mapping".[1] It can be applied to nearly any value chain, but is different than the architectural concept of a value stream.

Using the method[edit]


Value Stream Maps are usually drawn using a set of standard symbols, some of which can be seen here.
A paper value stream map.

Value-stream mapping has supporting methods that are often used in Lean environments to analyze and design flows at the system level (across multiple processes).

Although value-stream mapping is often associated with manufacturing, it is also used in logistics, supply chain, service related industries, healthcare,[2][3] software development,[4][5] product development,[6] and administrative and office processes.[7]

In a build-to-the-standard form, Shigeo Shingo[8] suggests that the value-adding steps be drawn across the centre of the map and the non–value-adding steps be represented in vertical lines at right angles to the value stream. Thus, the activities become easily separated into the value stream, which is the focus of one type of attention, and the 'waste' steps, another type. He calls the value stream the process and the non-value streams the operations. The thinking here is that the non–value-adding steps are often preparatory or tidying up to the value-adding step and are closely associated with the person or machine/workstation that executes that value-adding step. Therefore, each vertical line is the 'story' of a person or workstation whilst the horizontal line represents the 'story' of the product being created.

Value stream mapping is a recognised method used as part of Six Sigma methodologies.[9]

In software engineering[edit]

The success of Lean in manufacturing and production has led to an interest in its adoption in software development. However, it was noted that the current literature on adoption of Lean in software development had a disconnect between the high-level principles and the concrete practices related to lean and agile software development. The literature had also a limited focus on wastes that were literally mapped from the categories identified for manufacturing.[10] This was ignoring the transformation that lean thinking has itself undergone and moved away from the focus on "removal of waste" to "creating and delivering value".[11] The use of value stream mapping as suggested by the pioneer authors of the field Womack and Jones[12] was identified as the missing link in the current literature on lean in software development.

Value-stream mapping analyzes both material (artifact) and information flow.[13] The following two resources exemplify the use of VSM to do it in the context of software process improvement in industrial settings:

  • "Artifact analysis": analysis of software artifacts like requirements, use case, change request or defect report through the development process[14]
  • "Information flow analysis": analysis of information flows in the development process[15]


Two key metrics associated with value stream mapping are value-adding times and non–value-adding times.[16] Non value adding time is called waste or muda.[17]

Associated analysis methods[edit]

Hines and Rich (1997) defined seven value stream mapping tools[18] they are:

  1. Process Activity Mapping
  2. Supply chain responsiveness matrix
  3. Product Variety Funnel
  4. Quality filter mapping
  5. Forrester effect mapping
  6. Decision point analysis
  7. Overall Structure Maps

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Rother, Mike; Shook, John (1999). Learning to See: value-stream mapping to create value and eliminate muda. Brookline, MA: Lean Enterprise Institute. ISBN 0-9667843-0-8. 
  2. ^ Graban, Mark (2011). Lean Hospitals: Improving Quality, Patient Safety, and Employee Engagement. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press. ISBN 9781439870433. 
  3. ^ Graban, Mark; Swartz, Joseph (2011). Healthcare Kaizen: Engaging Front-Line Staff in Sustainable Continuous Improvements. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press. ISBN 9781439872963. 
  4. ^ Plenert, Gerhard (2011). Lean Management Principles for Information Technology. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press. ISBN 9781420078602. 
  5. ^ Bell, Steven; Orzen, Michael. Lean IT: Enabling and Sustaining Your Lean Transformation. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press. ISBN 9781439817568. 
  6. ^ Mascitelli, Ronald (2011). Mastering lean product development: a practical, event-driven process for maximizing speed, profits and quality. Northridge, CA: Technology Perspectives. ISBN 9780966269741. 
  7. ^ Keyte, Beau; Locher, Drew (2004). The Complete Lean Enterprise: Value Stream Mapping for Administrative and Office Processes. New York: Productivity Press. ISBN 9781563273018. 
  8. ^ Shingo, Shigeo (1985). A Revolution in Manufacturing: The SMED System. Stamford, CT: Productivity Press. p. 5. ISBN 0915299097. 
  9. ^ "Value Stream Mapping" Article Source:
  10. ^ Ali N.B., Operationalization of lean thinking through value stream mapping with simulation and FLOW [dissertation]. Karlskrona: Department of Software Engineering, Blekinge Institute of Technology; 2015.
  11. ^ Hines P, Holweg M, Rich N. Learning to evolve: A review of contemporary lean thinking. International Journal of Operations & Production Management. 2004;24(10):994-1011.
  12. ^ Womack JP, Jones DT. Lean thinking: banish waste and create wealth in your corporation. Rev. and updat [] ed. London: Free Press Business; 2003.
  13. ^ Rother, Mike, and John Shook. Learning to see: value stream mapping to add value and eliminate muda. Lean Enterprise Institute, 2003.
  14. ^ Ali NB, Petersen K, Breno Bernard Nicolau de França. Evaluation of simulation-assisted value stream mapping for software product development: Two industrial cases. Information and Software Technology. 2015;68:45.
  15. ^ Ali NB, Petersen K, Schneider K. FLOW-assisted value stream mapping in the early phases of large-scale software development. Journal of Systems and Software. 2016;111:213-27.
  16. ^ JANUŠKA, M., PÁLKA, P., ŠŮLOVÁ, D., CHODŮR, M. Value chain of virtual enterprise - Possible modern management concepts and value drivers identification. In Annals of DAAAM for 2009 and 20th International DAAAM Symposium "Intelligent Manufacturing and Automation: Focus on Theory, Practice and Education". Vienna: Danube Adria Association for Automation and Manufacturing, DAAAM, 2009. s. 469-470. ISBN 978-3-901509-70-4 , ISSN 1726-9679
  17. ^
  18. ^ Rich, Nick; Esain, Ann; Bateman, Nicola (1997). Lean Evolution: Lessons from the Workplace. Cambridge University Press. 

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