Value Stream Map

This page contains a more detailed example of the type of work I have done in the past. Generally, all work I have done has been in either Process Improvement or Requirements Analysis. Sometimes it is difficult to tell the two apart.

During the 2007-2009-timeframe, I worked for Northrop Grumman as a Process Improvement Manager on the Army Knowledge Online (AKO) program at Ft. Belvoir. While my job was nominally to spread the gospel for Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI), I had other opportunities to dive into process improvement.

One of these opportunities was to be part of a three-person team charged by the program manager to determine how to remedy the obscenely long onboarding time for new hires. New hires took from 1 to 2 months from first entering the building to being fully in-processed and ready to work. The team interviewed about fifteen people at AKO, and as the process person, I developed a Value Stream Map based on Learning to See (Rother and Shook, 1999), using eVSM software.

The Value Stream Map contained the value-added processing steps, the wait times between the steps and, the takt time or the rate at which new hires need to be in-processed to meet the Program Manager’s demand. I was ready to start the next phase of the Lean Analysis, to gather data for the processing steps and wait times and show why onboarding takes so long. Finally, I could identify the steps in the process to make the most significant improvements.

But where I saw an opportunity to make a difference in a complex process, the Program Manager saw an insurmountable barrier, with way too many participants from outside organizations.  He saw a problem that he, as a contractor, had no control over and thus dropped the idea of improving the new hire onboarding time.

I was disappointed, but not for long because the AKO Program had a Call Center, and the Colonel in charge was not happy with the length of time needed to resolve level 2 tickets. His unhappiness resulted in a 6-Sigma project for me and a story for another time.