Creating the Right Value Stream Mapping Team

When starting a new project or looking to improve processes it is very helpful to start out with a value stream mapping team.  This team can work together to identify opportunities for the project and provide extremely valuable input.

Unfortunately, value stream mapping teams all too often end up being more of a waste of time than a help.  This is because people choose members of the team for the wrong reasons or just choose the wrong people in general.  Many teams also end up having too many people which can make it very difficult for effective sharing of information and ideas.

Creating the right value stream mapping team is one of the most important steps in any type of project and can really do a lot to determine the overall success or failure of the project.  Most people who have successful teams find that between 6 and 9 members is a good place to start.  This ensures that there is enough diversity (if the members are chosen properly) while not having too many people which causes wasted time.

Tips for Choosing Members

In most situations there will be one of two problems.  Either far too many people want to be on the team, or not enough.  For this reason it is important to have a process in place which allows the project owner to choose their team themselves.  It is also important for the project manager to choose the leader of the team wisely.  In most cases the leader won’t be the project manager because it is important that the leader has experience in this area.  If nobody with experience leading a team can be found, hiring an outside consultant can be an extremely valuable option.

These consultants can not only run the team for this project, but also train a few people on how to properly run a value stream mapping team for the future.  Choosing the other members of the team can also be difficult.

Having representation from all the key groups is important.  Adding in one outside person who knows little or nothing about the project or its impact can also be a great way to get a different perspective.  Members of the leadership or management team should always make up a part of this team so they can have a good idea of the project and can put in their input during the approval processes.

Think Diversity

One of the most important things is to avoid having more than one person from any specific group.  A strong representative from each department or area is sufficient to get the ideas and thoughts necessary.  Choosing someone from production, someone from operations, someone from information technology and someone from quality control will give a much more diverse set of opinions than if there were just three people from operations.

If there are more people who can contribute to the team than there are slots available for it is possible to use them after the fact.  Having additional individuals go through the results or participate through an interview process can be extremely valuable.  This is also a great way to increase participation and help others great ready for future value stream mapping teams.


Additional Resources