Cutting up Shiny bright things with Value Stream Mapping

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Tim Coventry talks with Dorothy Mhlanga about value stream mapping, and how it’s a most valuable technique to understand existing opportunities.

Tim is the CEO for Business Analysts Pty Ltd (BAPL) with over 25 years’ experience, and a strong contribution to business analysis across the globe, He is an acknowledged expert in his professional field.

What is your favourite business analysis technique, and what is it that you love/value about it?

Value Stream Mapping is my favourite business analysis technique, which is a process analysis method used in Lean methodologies.

It’s is all about getting stakeholders to focus on the business value, and combined with the business canvas technique it is a great way to model any organisation. Value Stream Mapping enables a Business Analyst to start delivering a solution while still discovering the scope of the business need and to define any opportunities or problems.

In which situations or at which point in the business analysis process do you typically use value stream mapping?

I use this technique most of the time, at the start of business analysis activities.

I would prefer to poke my eye with a blunt stick than to walk into a workshop and say to a group of stakeholders “What do you want?”

Value Stream Mapping allows you to prepare quickly for discovery – it is a great way to focus on the internal & external customer journeys across any organisation.

How is this technique particularly helpful for business and project stakeholders?

A large number of stakeholders start with the “shiny bright things” like applications/software that promise to solve all business problems. Yet value stream maps help stakeholders focus on the business needs, and helps to understand any existing opportunities or problems rather than brochureware.

Why do you choose this technique over other techniques that can achieve similar results?

By definition it gets stakeholders thinking about value.

What are the priorities? If we have limited money (and I don’t know any organisation with unlimited money), time and resources where can we put our efforts for the greatest return?

Value stream mapping is also a useful technique within my tool kit to focus on business solutions. Whereas, other techniques can lead stakeholders to focus on applications/software.

What advice do you have for other people using the value stream mapping technique? Do you have any tips to make value stream mapping spectacular?

Always start with breadth rather than depth and only go with depth where it is necessary. Start delivering a business solution as fast as possible. Breadth rather than depth is great to get your stakeholders to own the needs, value and requirements.

Don’t be pedantic about ceremonies, if the stakeholders take ownership of the value streams, you will have started good business analysis capability transfer. Use visual aids to help create and maintain the value stream map until the stakeholders decide to make it more permanent and reusable.

Cutting up Shiny Bright Things with Value Stream Mapping’ with Tim Coventry was first published in the Inter-View Report 2017

About Dorothy Mhlanga

Dorothy Mhlanga is a consultant at Saratoga specialising in business analysis, whose main areas of interest are system design and agile project delivery.

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