I was reading a post on the eXtreme Programming User Group of a real guru: Kent Beck.

He was talking about a concept very common in Lean Manufacturing called: Values Stream Mapping.

The basic, and apparently easy, idea is to split the process, assign a cost to every part and have a look those parts that ADD VALUE.

Let’s have a look at standard HW purchasing requests in a typical company:

  • the user issue is request
  • the request is received by the IT dept and evaluated against standards, budget availability, … (30 minutes)
  • the request is issued in the ERP system (5 minutes)
  • the purchasing dept does its job (2 weeks)
  • the supplier receives the request and does his processing (30 minutes)
  • … waiting for other orders + parts + come grouping … (3 weeks)
  • shipping (2 days)
  • our company receive the piece of HW and store it in the warehouse (30 minutes)
  • … waiting for schedule … (2 weeks)
  • installation and deploy (3 hours)

So what, the value that we add to this process, that’s (part of) the installation and deploy (3 hours), is around 1% of the entire process (weeks …).

It’s wonderful, almost easy to do (may be not in a perfect way but you can get the big picture), and I guess that often it will point to something that are not under our control. Anyway .. it’s good to know it.


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