Value Stream Mapping Fundamentals

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Value Stream Mapping Fundamentals.  Why is value stream mapping such an essential tool for modern IT? And what is a value stream anyway?

Value stream mapping is a Lean tool that has emerged as a critical capability for organizations striving to breakdown silos, minimize waste, shorten lead and cycle times and improve flow across the IT value chain. 

Once thought of only in the context of manufacturing, organizations are seeing the benefits of applying value stream mapping to the activities associated with software design, development and delivery, service management, and office and administrative activities such as on boarding new customers or new employees.  

A value stream is the sequence of activities required to design, produce and deliver a specific product or service. 

Before an organization can optimize the flow of activities across a value stream, it must gain visibility into how value is created. Value stream mapping provides that visibility. Widely recognized as an invaluable tool in the DevOps and Agile communities, value streams also play an important role in the newly introduced ITIL 4.

Whenever there is customer demand there is a value stream. The challenge lies in seeing it.vsmf-quote.png

Value stream mapping typically occurs in a workshop setting, where a facilitator leads and coaches a cross-functional team of stakeholders through the value stream mapping methodology and in the use of continuous improvement tools and techniques. A well-executed value stream mapping workshop can be a game changer for organizations.  But what are the characteristics of a great  facilitator? And who needs to attend? And what goes on before, during and after a successful value stream mapping event? 

Whether you want to learn about the mechanics of value stream mapping or how to plan and conduct Value Stream Mapping workshop (and how to avoid common pitfalls) this course is for you. 

This course describes how value stream mapping is different than other continuous improvement methods, and why and how it enables organizations to significantly improve and optimize performance. The course provides a brief introduction to basic Lean concepts and then takes a deep dive into value stream mapping. Learn about the anatomy of a value stream, how to build an ‘A’ team of stakeholders to map the value stream, and how to plan and lead a value stream transformation.

The course describes a step-by-step approach to preparing for and conducting a value stream mapping workshop; along with how to overcome common challenges, avoid common mistakes and produce meaningful / actionable deliverables.

Class includes a series of experiential exercises designed to allow attendees to build and practice needed skills. Class also includes access to ITSM Academy's Learner Portal and a toolkit of invaluable checklists and templates participants can use to put those skills to work.

Learning Objectives:  During this class, learners acquire a practical understanding of:

  • Basic Lean concepts
  • Basic value stream concepts
  • The elements and parts of a value stream map
  • The value stream mapping process
  • Value stream mapping roles and activities
  • Planning a value stream mapping workshop
  • Data collection and analysis and techniques
  • Conducting a workshop
  • Producing workshop deliverables
  • Building a transformation plan
  • How to achieve the desired future state

Come prepared to roll up your sleeves and participate in this highly-experiential workshop.  

Delivery: Learners are immersed in material that is presented in a fun, practical manner using exercises and real-world examples.

Audience: This training is designed to prepare attendees to arrange and/or conduct value stream mapping workshops, whether internally or for their customers. This class is for all professionals and organizations involved in improving the delivery of value to customers including:

  • Anyone involved in leading an IT transformation
  • Individuals who want to better understand how to use value stream mapping in conjunction with a continuous improvement effort
  • Anyone who wants to understand when to use value streams mapping (vs. when to focus on process improvement)
  • Anyone who wants to learn how to conduct a value stream mapping workshop
  • Value stream owners, managers and champions
  • Quality, process and continual improvement professionals including consultants, process and practice owners and managers, service management office (SMO) members
  • Line managers, team leaders and supervisors who want to improve cross-functional collaboration

Professional Education Hours: Individuals attending this class will earn 16 professional education hours (e.g., PDUs, CPEs, CEUs) upon completion of this course. These professional education hours can be submitted to associations such as the Project Management Institute and ISACA, if applicable.

Instructors: As with all ITSM Academy training, our instructors have successful track records as IT professionals and bring that acumen into the classroom. Utilizing the highest quality content, our trainers blend their real-life experiences into lively classroom discussion. Trainers for this course are seasoned professionals, hold multiple IT service management (ITSM), DevOps and Agile industry certifications and have successfully completed ITSM Academy's Train-the-Trainer Program.

Course / Student Materials:

  • Access to ITSM Academy's Learner Portal – – extends the classroom experience with online content and tools
    • Digital Learner Manual (excellent post-class reference)
    • Learner Personal Action Plan
    • Sample documents, templates tools and techniques
    • Access to additional sources of information and communities
    • including our What is Value Stream Mapping White Paper
  • Sixteen (16) hours of instructor-led training and exercise facilitation
  • Participation in unique assignments designed to apply concepts
  • Exam voucher

Prerequisites: None

Exam & Certification: Learners will be equipped to earn their Value Stream Mapping Fundamentals accreditation by achieving a passing score (65%) on a 45 minute exam, consisting of 20 multiple choice questions. Any learner not successful on their first attempt is eligible for one (1) free resit.


Let's Go Green: Materials for this course are provided as downloadable soft copy files that can be viewed on a variety of devices. Attendees may print a hard copy of the files in whatever format best meets their needs, and can use the files under the Terms of Use as indicated on the material.

 Course Logistics:

Learners should only commit to classes they are prepared to attend.  ITSM Academy Open Enrollment Class Terms and Conditions.

About Mike Orzen

This course was developed in collaboration with Mike Orzen. Mike is the award-winning best-selling co-author of Lean IT: Enabling and Sustaining Your Lean Enterprise, the book that so many consider “The Bible” of applying Lean to information and technology. Mike delivers a unique blend of Lean, Six Sigma, IT and Operations. He has been consulting and coaching for over 20 years. Mike’s experience includes systems design, enterprise-wide project management and large-scale rollout of Lean initiatives in global companies as guide and coach.


  • 5
    great class - lots of "value" LOL

    Posted by Krista B. on Jun 3rd 2022

    Cheryl did an excellent job with using examples to apply the tools and concepts of this course.

  • 5
    Learnring more, so much packed in

    Posted by Kevin Flanagan on Nov 13th 2020

    It's great to learn new things, getting clarity about not just how to proceed in a VSM exercise, but when it's not really VSM that you need to do. I believe that this class will help me step up my game, leading the org to greater change and success.

  • 5
    I am so glad to have learned VSM skills

    Posted by Whit B. on Aug 19th 2020

    My organization is spending time and resources on #ITIL #Agile #DevOps etc. Every one of those programs needs Value Stream Mapping skills. I can't believe I thought I knew VSM. I am SO GLAD I went to this class! I am bringing hard skills back to our programs. TY to the ITSM Academy team.

  • 5
    Speed to Value Apllies - Across the Board

    Posted by Keith S., Principal Consultant, Service Management on Apr 20th 2019

    My reasons for attending this workshop were to enhance my consulting capability. Going in, what I hoped might occur was two-fold: increase my overall knowledge of value stream mapping (VSM), while also gaining perspective on facilitating a VSM activity. What I actually realized was more! Ample time is spent on the concept of both VSM and the associated facilitation skills . The real magic is in putting the two together in a prescriptive approach (many exercises to support). If you take this course, don't be surprised if your facilitation skills aren't enhanced (at least validated). Also recognize that a person in this role might be part of a DevOps practice/team, a Service Management Process Owner, a member of the Quality team, part of the leadership team, or a consultant. This skill set, and the need for it, spans an organization. Bear in mind that being successful here is a must - you must be proficient at it! Michael Orzen was phenomenal in leading us through the curriculum.

  • 5
    Great Class

    Posted by Rebecca on Apr 18th 2019

    If continuous improvement is important to you, this class is a must.