Value Stream Mapping (VSM) is a Lean technique that creates a visual view of a process to identify waste and highlight opportunities for improvement. VSM is an excellent tool to create collaboration and communication as the exercise works best when performed by a cross-section of the stream of work being diagnosed for improvement. It's also a perfect tool to use early and frequently when you are evolving your DevOps capabilities because it allows us to focus in on The First Way - Flow.
VSM exercises help to answer these questions:
- Where are we wasting time, effort or resources?
- Are we delivering a quality product or service?
- How can we improve the flow or way of working to shorten the time to deliver a product or service?
- What feedback measures can we introduce to quickly alert us that something is wrong?
- What can we do to continue the cycle of improvement as things change either in terms of product, service or customer needs?
Value Stream Mapping is a strategic technique to solve a problem by getting the right level of individuals to review the current flow, identify constraints, map a future target flow and create a plan to achieve the new goal in iterative cycles. The VSM forces all involved to concentrate and agree on the WHY and the WHAT and not focus on the HOW. This introspection creates communication and collaboration top down and across an organisation.