Thursday, July 30, 2020

Mapping project value-add

To get things in the right sequence, let's define "value-add" before talking about mapping value-add

Simply put, insofar as one-time projects are concerned (setting aside repetitive services, etc):
Value-add is anything you can make out of stuff -- to include intangible stuff -- that is ultimately delivered to the customer, or makes the deliverable a good thing in the customer's eyes.
And so, the mission for the PMO becomes: build and deliver value to the customer. Such implies a process to acquire "stuff". Then to mix, modify, and assemble; test, package, and deliver.

Fair enough
And so, how to lay out this process?
Enter: Value stream mapping

Value stream mapping
Value stream mapping may look like a new label on old wine. But even if that is so, the wine ages well. In the old days, we simply called it process mapping.
  • Activities are usually arranged in finish-to-start precedence; 
  • Feedback loops are established to promote stability; 
  • Points of control, and control limits are established; and
  • Value is accumulated, step by step.
Some would call this an earned-value view of value mapping. Fine with me.

Getting lean
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 workflow steps, and other governance and ancillary activities, like a trouble report or a status report, are evaluated for value-add. Presumably, such an evaluation leans out the unnecessary detail and complexity of too many rules.

A lot of governance would not fit the value-add definition directly, but most indirect activities don't. Nevertheless, most practical organizations can't live without some non-value overhead that goes along with everything.

The map
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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