I have been away attending the excellent “Agile on The Beach” conference recently, but when I returned I had an email waiting requesting some PMI-ACP study help on Value Stream Mapping. So here is quick outline of the topic.
Value Stream Mapping – is a lean manufacturing technique that has been adopted by agile methods. It is used to analyze the flow of information (or materials) required to complete a process and to determine elements of waste that may be removed to improve the efficiency of the process. Value stream mapping usually involves creating visual maps of the process (value stream maps) and progresses through these stages:
1) Identify the product or service that you are analyzing
2) Create a value stream map of the currant process identifying steps, queues, delays and information flows
3) Review the map to find delays, waste and constraints
4) Create a new value stream map of the future state optimized to remove/reduce delays, waste and constraints
5) Develop a roadmap to create the future state
6) Plan to revisit the process in the future to continually tune and optimize
To illustrate lets optimize the value stream for buying a cake to celebrate passing your PMI-ACP exam with a friend. Let’s say this involves choosing a cake, waiting at the bakery counter to get the cake, paying for the cake at the checkout, then unpacking and slicing before enjoying the benefit of the process (the cake).
a) Identify the starting point of the process (who initiates) it and the end point (who gets the end result) of the process.
c) Identify any supporting groups and alternative flows (such as selecting another cake if the Baker Counter does not have the one you want)
d) Measure the Value Adding and Non Value Adding activities, calculate efficiencies, identifying waste, bottlenecks and improvement actions.
Identify and remove waste to improve process efficiencies. Mary Poppendieck has written extensively on the use of Lean principles for software projects. She converted the 7 traditional wastes of a manufacturing process into 7 software related equivalents wastes, that can take the forms of:
The application of value stream mapping to knowledge worker environments such as software is debatable. Do the collaborative processes in IT projects behave in similar ways and material production systems? The classic version of Value Stream mapping described here is what the PMI-ACP is based upon, but for a more in depth discussion of some of the challenges in the knowledge worker spaces see Dean and Dennis Steven’s white paper: “Value Stream Mapping for Knowledge Work”.
What in your PMI-ACP exam preparation is bothering you? Agile earned value, risk burn downs, or how about the PMI code of ethics? Let me know and if I have already written it up I will post it, if not I can at least outline my thoughts and recommendations.
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