Seeing Your Challenges in the Value Stream

In the same way that we saw how value moves through our value stream, we can look at the value stream to see our challenges. The most common challenges that companies have are:

  • It takes too long to get anything done
  • work is not properly prioritized
  • chunks of work are too big
  • work takes place on too many things
  • there are unclear requirements
  • teams don’t understand the needs of the business
  • some people have too much to do and are constraints on multiple teams
  • there is high technical debt
  • there are many integration errors
  • there is insufficient collaboration
  • ops is blindsided and pulled in many directions
  • there is a lack of visibility of what is taking place

These challenges are represented in the figure below:

Showing common challenges in the value stream

These challenges usually are seen by having by having work be stuck in large queues before the step where the problem is. Lean suggests that instead of focusing on how people can work faster we should take steps to keep our queue size down. This mostly involves working on small batches, how we do our work, and how we organize our talent.