Agile PM Process Grid–7.2 Value-Stream Mapping

In John Stenbeck’s book “PMI-ACP and Certified Scrum Professional Exam Prep and Desk Reference”, he creates an “agile project management process grid” which describes 87 processes used in agile project management.   These processes are divided into five process groups (Initiate, Plan, Iterate, Control, and Close), which are analogous to the five process groups in traditional project management, and seven knowledge areas which can be mapped, more or less, onto the ten knowledge areas in traditional project management.

I’m now about to discuss a block of three processes that are in the continuous improvement knowledge area that are carried out in the planning phase.   The first of these processes is 7.2 Value-Stream Mapping.

There’s an apocryphal story that goes like this:   Michelangelo was once asked how he would sculpt an elephant.  He replied “I would take a large piece of stone and take away everything that was not an elephant.”   Since of the principles of agile is that you want to maximize the value of the product to the customer, there are two ways of doing this in value-stream mapping.    You take your current process that use to produce the product for the customer and break it into smaller pieces.   Then you analyze each piece and you keep or maximize those pieces that add to the product’s value, and throw out or minimize those processes that do NOT add value to the product.

Here’s a more detailed description:

  1. Identity the target of the value stream analysis, whether it’s a product or a service.
  2. Define the current stream by breaking down the steps required to deliver product of service.
  3. Identity opportunities to eliminate waste, i.e., those steps that do not add value to the product or service and are not operationally necessary, i.e., needed to lead to a step that DOES add value.
  4. Depict the desired future state of the product or service that has the non-value-added steps removed.

Value stream mapping is a part of lean manufacturing techniques and is a methodology used in Six Sigma projects.   Now it is part of the tools and techniques used in agile project management, because of its emphasis on maximizing value to the customer.

The next process is 7.3 Cross-Functional Team Formation, and is described in the next post.



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