What’s the value of value-stream mapping?

A value-stream map is a step by step visual that defines the path of product development or enhancement delivery to a customer.

Participating in a value-stream mapping workshop is an essential activity as you prepare to take a product to market. The key to conducting a successful value stream mapping workshop is to invite the right participants.  To get this right, ask yourself the question – If person X were not invited, could we successfully deliver a product to a customer on time?  If the audience prepares beforehand and then actively participate in the workshop, this activity can swiftly change a business trajectory upwards.

During the exercise, as participants answer the below questions, they discuss, align, and add content to the value-stream map.

  • Do you agree on a clear journey map for each of your customers?
  • What are the functional and non-functional requirements?
  • Do you fully understand the customer’s pain points and needs?
  • Who will develop and deliver value to the customer at each step?
  • What are each team’s impediments to providing value?
  • Roughly, what is the duration or effort to provide value?

By the end of the workshop, teams have identified how to deliver on each step of the customer journey. The product manager understands the rudimentary constraints, dependencies, and priorities. The backlog can begin to be populated.

Value-stream mapping is not a one-and-done exercise. If your organization or circumstances are changing rapidly, it’s a good idea to do value-stream mapping twice a year or more.

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