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Value Stream Transformation

If you have big goals then value stream transformation can help you get there. It eliminates siloed thinking and sets the stage for bold thinking.

Image by Joshua Earle

Do you have big goals, like accelerating delivery to customers, closing significant quality gaps, reducing excessive effort in performing work, expanding geographically or launching a new product line and don't know how to go about it?

Value Stream Transformation can help you get there!

Value Streams are a sequence of activities required to design, produce and deliver a good or service to a customer. They are often described using phrases such as request-to-receipt, order-to-delivery, cradle-to-grave. It clearly exposes how work flows, or in many cases doesn’t flow, as an organization strives to deliver value to a customer.

Going through a value stream exercise deepens our understanding of customer-defined value, breaks siloed-thinking, and sets the stage for bold thinking when leaders start viewing work as an interconnected system of processes and functional areas.
Value Streams are complex work systems that typically reach across a significant part of the organization. They are comprised of interconnected work processes, which are often the responsibility of separate departments or functional areas.​​

How We Can Help

Defining value streams is a senior leadership activity because it’s closely connected to the strategy and it helps the leaders think clearly on the macro-level similarities and differences in the work done across the organization, which leads to better business decisions.
Slide - Value Stream vs Process.png
We facilitate leadership sessions and help them manage the value transformation activities below
Planning & Preparation

We start by developing and socializing the project charter with our client. 

A well-crafted charter serves as a planning, alignment, and level-setting tool to build clarity and consensus about why the organization needs to transform the selected value stream. The charter ensures we set the groundwork and guardrails for a successful transformation cycle, and the leaders agree on the mission upfront.

Current State Discovery & Analysis

We facilitate leadership workshops to gain a deep understanding of how value is defined by the organization's customers and the current state, which includes:

  • How the value stream is performing

  • Where work flows and doesn’t flow

  • Where is the waste, unevenness, or overburden

  • Degree of safety and quality in producing and delivering the product

  • Physical and psychological work environment contributing or inhibiting successful work performance 

Aerial View of Flyover Bridges

Value Stream View

Similar to a helicopter hovering over the freeway system, value streams provide a macro view of the work system that allows us to easily identify where the traffic is flowing well vs. jammed up at a street level; akin to waste creating lack of flow at a process level in the business world.

Traffic Jam

Process View

This understanding is critical for making informed decisions about the future state and is obtained by observing the value stream in action, holding conversations, and analyzing data. The output from this phase is a current state value stream map.

Future State Design

With a solid understanding of the current state, we facilitate leadership sessions to create a future state value stream map, which becomes our blueprint for improving the value stream over the period defined in the charter. The map reflects the new way the value stream will operate, the projected performance gains that will result from the new design, and a brief description of the problems to be solved or improvements needed for the future state to become the current state.

Broadly, there are three steps in designing the future state:


The ultimate work design goal for any work system is to flow value to a customer with the greatest ease. Ease means the work is safe, efficient, and effective.

Image by Quino Al

When everyone works in sync the pacing and power of each stroke are the same. Rowers work as a system and the boat heads easily in the intended direction. 


In the context of an organization, the rowers represent the workgroups, departments, and operations that form value streams.

If one person rows faster or with greater strength than others the boat won’t head in the intended direction – and the rowers need to constantly course-correct because one person isn’t in sync with all the others, which is a lot of work.

Transformation Planning

We work with the leadership team to create a transformation plan, an action plan, for realizing the future state. 

Each problem or improvement noted on the future state map becomes a line item on the transformation plan with clear accountabilities of who is overseeing each problem or improvement. It contains a GANTT chart, a visual progress tracker, and the level of effort required to solve the problem or design, test, and roll out the improvement.

Transformation Plan Execution

The transformation plan execution occurs over the period established in the project charter and is tightly managed by a project manager to maintain the rigor and momentum required to deliver future state design.

Value Stream Management

Value stream transformation is a continuous improvement cycle, which never ends. 

It is best practice to have a single point of leadership accountability for a value stream. The value stream leader actively measures and manages the performance of the entire value stream to assure consistent results and to see new performance gaps the moment they occur, which results in a new round of improvement.

Defining an organization’s key value streams allows leaders to think strategically vs. reactively in prioritizing value stream improvements.

When leaders easily grasp what they actually do as an organization, it allows them to make better decisions about investments, market strategies, and internal priorities to name a few. It helps leaders make a bold move to rethink leadership responsibilities, which is one of the most transformative decisions an organization can make. 

Improvement takes effort, sometimes a lot of effort. Organizations benefit when they spend the time and resources on the value stream with the greatest improvement needs, or the potential to produce the most relevant results.

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