Agile focus on people, quality and speed, and Value Stream Mapping (VSM) is a way to improve efficiency and maximize the value we deliver to our customers.
VSM is a lean manufacturing technique to analyze, design, and manage the flow of materials and information required to bring a product to a customer. It can also be used in software development to reduce waste and improve processes, for example by reducing manual work or multiple handoffs, which in turn may result in defects.
For example, in DevOps we aim to improve cross-Team collaboration, and to automate as much as possible, so that we reduce manual work and human errors.
VSM can reveal inefficiencies from idea to production, including feedback loops and rework. It can help reduce the number of steps and the need for rework.
Eventually VSM will promote a culture of continuous improvement that is effective in software engineering and operations.
As with any initiative, the Team should decide how much time they can spend on VSM, to make sure the cost doesn't outweigh the benefits.
The organizer should also involve relevant people, since the mapping process could be vastly cross-functional and complex.
These are common steps to perform VSM:
1. Identify a slice of the product that has high business value.
2. Define the problem statement - For example, what are we trying to improve in our value proposition? Reducing the cost, or increasing the quality?
3. Focus on processes that are key to the problem statement, and collect processing data
4. Map out process times and lead times
5. Prepare a draft of the future map.