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Value Streams and Project Management – What’s The Connection?

February 19, 2010

The world of business is a whirling cauldron of new ideas and terminology.  One of the current hot topics is Value Streams.  The term “Value Stream” or more precisely, “Value Stream Mapping”, comes from the world of Lean Manufacturing.  A value stream consists of all the materials and information in the flow or stream to bring a product or service to market.

The purpose of mapping value streams is to identify areas where processes can be improved and/or waste can be eliminated.  When mapping the value streams you are looking to maximize the parts of the process that are improving value and minimize the parts that do not add to the final value of the product or service. (bizbodz)

Unless your organization is in the business of offering Project Management products or services, Project Management is probably not one of your value streams.  Project Management usually supports or helps deliver a value stream to the organization.

What processes could be improved in your organization?  Where is the “waste” in your processes?

I have attached some links below for further information.

I dedicate this question to Audrey, one of my students.  Thanks for asking the question and I hope I gave you a reasonable answer.

References:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Value_Stream_Mapping

http://www.bizbodz.com/Business-Improvement/Lean/Value-Stream-Mapping-How-to-Guide-Part-1.asp

http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newSTR_58.htm

http://www.valuebasedmanagement.net/methods_value_stream_mapping.html

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Jefferson Martin permalink
    March 1, 2010 7:42 am

    Excellent post.

    One problem in VSM is the difficulty in capturing ‘value’ as a metric within the model.

    • March 1, 2010 4:31 pm

      Jefferson, Thanks for visiting. Value is so subjective. It is difficult to apply metrics. Value streams provide value to multiple stakeholders. What may be of value to one, may not be of value to another.

  2. Jefferson Martin permalink
    March 2, 2010 7:07 am

    Seems that ‘value’ should never be subjective and should be linked to an accepted dimension such as currency, time, etc. when we are assessing processes under the term ‘Value Stream’.

    In auto manufacturing we try to assign an objective ‘work-in-progress’ value to each step in the assembly process. This incremental valuation should roll up to 100% when the auto is ready for the customer to drive away but I contend that there is no sensible upstream valuation outside of lost sales to the customer.

    Lean practices seem to ask that the assembly line worker take responsibility for their area and have some sense of their impact upon that incremental value and I take issue with that.

    Perhaps value stream is a term which needs to be either rigorously defined or replaced with some other more appropriate term.

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