Skip to content

A company was having challenges with recruiting. It was hard to recruit good people and when they did, they had a huge wait between the offer letter to when the new hire could start with the company. Many times, they would lose someone they hired because some other organization would give the candidate a better offer and hire them while they were in the process with the first company.

Steve the EVP of HR wanted was looking for a solution. He hired Jeff a lean consultant to help them. Jeff hosted a one-day offsite and invited representatives of HR, the technology support team as well as the operations staff so they could see what they can do to streamline the process. In the first hour of the meeting, Jeff introduced the Value Stream Mapping tool to them


What Is Value Stream Mapping?

Value stream mapping is a lean tool that depicts the flow of information, materials, and work across functional silos with an emphasis on quantifying waste, including time and quality.

  • A value stream is the sequence of activities required to design, produce, and deliver a specific product or service.
  • Mostly rough estimates
  • Value streams typically span multiple processes.
  • It enables cross-functional teams to:
  • Helps visualize the steps needed to take from product creation to delivering it to the end customer.
  • Identify areas of waste as well as analyze and process improvements.

In 1940 Toyota adopted using Value stream mapping (VSM), a lean management tool used to visualize, define and optimize various steps involved in getting customer requests fulfilled from start to finish. All they did was look at the timeline from the moment the customer gives an order to the point where they receive payment. This gave them a value stream map, a timeline of major events or items that are adding value, or not adding value from the customer’s standpoint.

Mapping Process:

  • Identify what you want to map

If your company makes one product, one value stream map can cover the entire process, most companies have many products. For a complex mix of products or services generally, you would draw a separate map. A good way to start is to pick a single project that represents an average workflow or start with the highest value area. Your average value stream mapping will show where your internal process begins and ends.

  • Timeline

The value stream map always begins and ends with a customer. The timeline could be set ideally for:

New product – clock starts no later than the approval of the product concept.

Embedded software – ideally start the clock with the main product and not the software portion. (map from concept to cash)

 The clock stops when the solution is successfully launched, deploy, delivered, or solve a customer problem.

  • Identify value stream owner

Ideally, someone needs to monitor the changes you have decided. Keeping track of this will also speed things up and can also help enforce your new workflow.

To improve the onboarding new hire process, the HR and company support team was able to come up with the company’s value stream map for companies hiring process.

How did they Calculate the efficiency ratio? 

     Lead Time = value add time + non-value added (waste) 1505+8280= 9785

               process cycle efficiency in % = value add time/ lead time = 1505/9785

                               Efficiency ratio = 15%

               This means 85% of the time is spent on non-value-add activities.

By visualizing and examining the entire process they could easily eliminate things like

  1. They achieved the objective of mapping important end-to-end processes in fewer simple steps that can answer questions like – how long will it take the new hire to fill the forms requested? how long will it take for equipment to be delivered to the new hire?
  2. Percentage of work/ procedure that is taking time to add value and identify waste.


They were able to identify two areas of improvement.

  1. Background check process through a vendor
  2. Equipment order and setup process.

      Efficiency ratio = 76%

At the conclusion at the offsite, they had key takeaways that could streamline the process.

  • Automating Equipment order process when new hire accepts the offer.
  • Adding onboarding/ training when new hire added to system and setup.

By automating the “equipment order setup process” and ordering the machines right after new hire accepts an offer, they were able to gain the trust of employees and train them at the same time. Value stream mapping not only helped the company improve the recruiting process but also gained happy candidates and employees.

How does value stream mapping connect with DevOps?:

To optimize your flow, we should use value stream mapping for visualzing your product development pipeline, Reduce manual and error prone processes and build a continuous delivery pipeline that automates code integration, builds, tests and deployment. Value stream mapping helps you visualize your current state of your pipeline and gradually improve and automate your delivery pipeline so that from a time a feature is requested to when the customer recieves it is reduced.


Scrum, Product Management, and DevOps: Simplifying the jargon

The internet and social media are full of Agile, Scrum, Product Management, and DevOps jargon, including incorrect and misunderstood concepts. This could be problematic for a learner seeking knowledge. Without a course with Scrum Alliance,, or DevOps Institute, this knowledge is difficult to achieve.

The Concepts & Beyond blog is a free suite of articles and videos packaged in tiny chunks. You will learn or refine your knowledge and skills to help your team and organization be effective. When you want to take your knowledge further, we invite you to join us for our  Certified ScrumMaster(CSM),  Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO), Certified DevOps Engineering Foundations (DOEF) and Training from the Back of The Room courses across the USA and Canada.

3 Comment on this post

  1. I am a very visual learner. This article provided the visualizations I needed to learn the new material. It also showed the benefits of visualizations specifically with VSM and how you can find areas of improvements by simply mapping out your timeline with major milestones with the time and waste items take to complete.

  2. I have used value stream mapping , and enjoyed the article – I would however like to understand better how to work through those parts of a process which have both value and waste, and approaches to separating those out.

Join the conversation

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *