Value Streams and Why They Are So Important

This section of the portal is for supporting the Disciplined Agile Value Stream Consultant Workshop (DAVSC), currently under development. Discussions on the pages here will take place on the Disciplined Agile LinkedIn group.


The concept of the value stream is a critical aspect of Lean and systems-thinking. The value stream is the set of actions that take place from concept, to realization of value, that add value to a customer. The efficiency value a value stream of a has a huge factor on true productivity.

This page consolidates articles on this portal that relate to the value stream.

The Value Stream Illustrates an Inherent Challenge in Organizations. The value stream is the sequence of work from concept to realization of value. We clearly want to get ideas out to our customers (whether they be internal or external) as quickly as possible. When we contrast the value stream with how most organizations are hierarchical in nature as well as how they manage people, the value stream highlights a significant challenge most organizations face. Essentially we manage in a top-down manner, while we should be attending to the flow of work across the organization.

Value stream mapping is an activity that catalogs the steps in the work producing a product or delivering a service. It reveals where the interfaces are between activities, as well as the times involved in and between process steps.

Why Looking at the Value Stream Is So Important. One reason that looking at the value stream is so important is that it gives us a way to see the work being done in a better manner than just watching people. As Don Reinertsen states in The Principles of Product Development Flow: 2nd Generation Lean Product Development (and as SAFe mirrors) – “if you only measure one thing, measure cost of delay.” This reflects that we are trying to eliminate delays.

Attending to the Customer’s Value Stream.  As more companies are incorporating Lean principles into their development methods they should remember that development value streams are only one of three kinds of value streams. This talks about the relationship between the customer value stream and the operational value stream and the development value stream.

Using the Value Stream to Get to Root Cause With ‘Five-Whys’.  An example of how analyzing an organizations value stream achieved a 20% increase in productivity for a 100 person organization in a matter of hours.

SAFe From a Value Stream Perspective. If you’re doing SAFe, looking at it from a value stream perspective makes it both easier to understand and creates opportunities for improvement.

The Value Stream Impedance Scorecard (VSIS). The Value Stream Impedance Scorecard (VSIS) is a qualitative method of determining if a change to your system will be an improvement or not. It is used to predict whether a speculated “to be” state will be an improvement over the current “as is” state. It does this being guided by whether or not the change will improve value realization.  Essentially it looks to see if the resistance to flow will increase or decrease. The VSI Scorecard should be used as a heuristic as change in complex systems is not predictable although it can follow patterns.

Unedited, but useful

The Value Stream of the Effective Organization. There is value in visualizing what an effective value stream looks like.

FLEX and the Value Stream. 

Creating Effective Value Streams (will be integrated with following one)

Simplicity Factor: Efficiency of the Value Streams