Value Stream Map

Stop waiting

Woman patient waiting at hospital Doctors Waiting Room


Visually map the process together to gain insight into which steps in the process deliver the most customer value.


The Value Stream Map is a widely used tool from Lean to provide insight into bottlenecks in a production process (from idea to income). In a Value Stream Map you collaborate with your team and stakeholders to visually map the process, including waiting times and waste.



Practice Management: Value Stream Mapping- an introduction and example. Why would you complicate a value stream map with obscure symbols? Keep it simple and easy, using the method in this video.

To Work

  1. Collaboratively decide which work process you want to investigate.
  2. Each participant individually writes on sticky notes the different steps you see in the process.
  3. Bring all the steps together and collaboratively remove all the duplicates.
  4. Determine the correct order of the steps. On the left is the first process step and on the right is the last step, delivering to the customer. These were the first four steps of the Swim Lane method.
  5. Collaboratively map out which steps add value to the product or service (place them at the height of the gears) and which you do not (place it at the height of the hourglass).
  6. Determine for each value-adding step how much working time it costs on average and how much waiting time there is on average until the next step. These may be estimates. Add up the working hours and add up the waiting times.
  7. Optionally, use the cards from our DOWNTIME waste technique to visualize the type of waste in the process.


Value Stream Mapping is one of the techniques promoted by LEAN (The Toyota Way of Working).

You find a description of this technique in section Customer Value: Find the Holdup of our book Connective Leadership (EN, NL, DE). The book helps you set your team in motion with simple visualizations and communication techniques.

You can learn more about and practice this technique in our Connective Team Coach Training Course.

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