Value Stream Map

Value stream mapping is a method for developing and displaying a clear overview (or map) of the steps in completing any given process and discern opportunities to boost efficiency.


  • VSM is used to identify and diagram a family of processes and potential issues;
  • It is used to diagram the current state and future state of a family of processes;
  • In order to graphically represent a current and future state of a family of processes, set goals and create action items to accomplish the future state;
  • To create a new process or system that does not currently exist;
  • To develop a tool more powerful and more descriptive than Flow Charts.


  • Identify Process Families by grouping the processes based on their interaction and relationships;
  • Create a Current State Map of your Process Family;
  • Create a Future State Map of your Process Family that identifies areas that need improvement through Kaizen Bursts;
  • Plan your next course of action based on your action items created by the Kaizen Bursts.


Here is a working example of a VSM that was used in the Greater Atlantic Region Fisheries Office (GARFO) to define existing processes as well as to create new processes within the Fisheries Data Services and Analytical Program Support divisions.  By using the VSM, GARFO combined a detailed flow chart with a timeline and resource requirement.  It also provided improvement opportunities through the use of Kaizen Bursts and highlighted the measures and metrics necessary to establish the process. 

This tool was used by the North Pacific Groundfish Observer Program (NPGOP) located at the Alaska Fisheries Science Center in Seattle WA.  One of the tasks that the NPGOP performs is to train observers who are going to sea to become at-sea samplers.  This is a three-week training for new trainees and a four-day refresh training for returning observers.  By using the Value Stream Map, NPGOP  identified that the three week and four-day trainings were similar and were considered a family of processes.  NPGOP created a "current state" pictorial representation of the three-week and four-day training process flow.  This helped identify issues in the current state and by using improvement opportunities called Kaizen Bursts and created a future state pictorial representation of the training process flow.  Ultimately,  the three-week training was reduced by 15 hours through the use of value stream mapping.

Subject Ambassadors:

Sally Bibb - Alaska Region Office:

Glenn Campbell - Alaska Fisheries Science Center:

Last updated by Office of Science and Technology on June 13, 2018