In their book Value Stream Mapping: How to Visualize Work and Align Leadership for Organizational Transformation, Karen Martin and Mike Osterling concisely outline how companies can track their product through the production process and identify areas that hinder flow or are bogged with waste or insufficient quality.

Martin and Osterling take the reader through the entire Value Stream Mapping process from preparation for the mapping project, mapping the current state, mapping the future state and finally to achieving transformations. Each chapter corresponds with a step in the mapping process and each step is rife with detail from who in the company should be a part of the mapping team to the size of paper that the map should be drawn on. Throughout the book, diagrams provide a visual and different documents that might be used by the mapping team, such as the Value Stream Mapping Team Charter or the Value Stream Transformation Plan, are shown while also providing a website where potential Value Stream Mapping teams can download and print blank copies to use for their own mapping projects.

One Criticism that I have with this book is that I don’t think it will inspire anyone to go out and undertake a Value Stream mapping project. Despite providing a wealth of details on how to map a Value Stream, and although it does explain why and how a Value Stream Map can help companies, I don’t envision anyone getting fired up about undertaking a Value Stream Mapping project solely because they read this book. The amount of detail included in the book might have the effect of overwhelming anyone who isn’t already considering transforming their company from Silos to Value Streams. That said, anyone who is thinking about making that transformation will no doubt be able to use this book as a guide on how to create their own Value Streams. All in all, I think that Value Stream Mapping might be a bit much for anyone just dipping their toes into Lean but can be an incredible tool for anyone already versed in Lean and ready to take that next step into reorganizing their company into Value Streams