Value Stream Mapping Font
I ran across this over the weekend. I was shocked, but also saw how simple this could make working with simple value stream maps on your computer. It’s a font you can download that contains value stream mapping symbols. You can download it for free from Ambor.
I generally don’t think that people should spend too much time trying to map on a computer. Doing this on a computer should either be reserved for (a) simple mapping exercises, (b) documentation in parallel to creating it on a wall, or (c) documentation after the fact for saving or broad distribution. Working on a value stream on a computer does take away some of the multiple person engagement in the process and I believe gets us further away from the real purpose of mapping.
I think we do it a disservice by calling it value stream mapping. The reason is that I see most organizations focus on the mapping. Building a map is not the point. Building a map is only a tool to help drive a conversation. The real goal is to build a common understanding of the current state. The value of this is so that we are aligned in making forward-looking discussions. When people focus on the map they make mistakes like trying to figure out what software to use or delegating map-building to the new intern that we don’t know how to keep busy. The map helps us gain high agreement of the current reality. That’s why we don’t teach value stream mapping, we teach value stream improvement.