Value stream mapping seems to be a new label on old wine. But nevertheless, the wine ages well. In the "old days", we simply called it process mapping.
Value stream mapping derives from the Lean community, where of course the focus is on leaning out non-value add. So, in value stream mapping, each activity, to include the workflow of authorization and other governance, and ancillary activities, like a trouble report or a status report, is evaluated for value-add.
Some call it "de-cluttering". Don't hang onto the stuff you really aren't going to use.
And, of course de-cluttering the non-value add begs the question: what is value-add?
There is an answer, of course, but it may take a bit of customization to make it work everywhere. Simply put:
Anything that is ultimately delivered to the customer, or contributes to making the customer deliverable a good thing in the customer's eyes; anything that makes the customer more successful; and anything that gives the customer the willingness and capacity to pay.
A lot of project and business stuff would not fit this definition directly. Nevertheless, most practical organizations can't live without them, so there's a certain non-value overhead that goes along with everything.
One thing I do like about value stream mapping is the clarity of the diagramming. Take a look at this diagram:
If you're interested in more, this diagram came from a nice post at LeadingAnswers
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