It’s not the Map that Counts


Congratulations. You've mapped out the future state. Now what? | Markovitz Consulting

Here's a post, linked above, from a good friend of the Lean Blog, Dan Markovitz.

“After you map the current state, you create a “future state” map that depicts the improvements to that value stream. And this is where things go awry. The people who have so laboriously mapped out the new direction don't have the time to actually make the changes. They barely have enough time to do all of their regular work, to say nothing of the extra work involved in making the lean transformation. So the future state map is only partially implemented, the 30-, 60-, and 90-day milestones go unmet, and everyone is left muttering, “Yeah, that was kind of a cool project, but it didn't really make much of a difference in how we do stuff. Everyone's personnel evaluations are still six weeks late.”

I agree with Dan. I'd go further and suggest that if you don't have a plan for how you're going to implement changes identified in the VSM activity, then don't even bother. There's little value in the map itself if you're not using it to drive improvement.

This is a frequent Catch-22 in organizations, including hospitals:

  1. We know we need to get better, but
  2. We don't have time to make improvements
  3. So that makes things worse…

And the cycle continues. Sometimes you have to “bite the bullet” and invest some of your people's time to kick off initial Lean improvements. You have to jump start the process. Some organizations will actually approve overtime in the short-term to create some time for initial activities. Once improvements are underway, time freed up by efficiency improvements and quality improvements (reduced inspection and rework time) should free up time for more improvement and a “virtuous cycle” can began, where improvements lead to more improvements.

Do you have any tips for managers? How do you free up your own time for kaizen activities, after a Value Stream Mapping exercise or otherwise? How do you free up your employees' time to encourage kaizen?

Subscribe via RSS | Lean Blog Main Page | Podcast | Twitter @MarkGraban

Please check out my main blog page at

The RSS feed content you are reading is copyrighted by the author, Mark Graban.

, , , on the author's copyright.

What do you think? Please scroll down (or click) to post a comment. Or please share the post with your thoughts on LinkedIn – and follow me or connect with me there.

Did you like this post? Make sure you don't miss a post or podcast — Subscribe to get notified about posts via email daily or weekly.

Check out my latest book, The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation:

Get New Posts Sent To You

Select list(s):
Previous articlePizza Hut Found a Root Cause?
Next articleTwo New Quotes I Like
Mark Graban
Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.