Value Streams are Pure Gold for Business Architecture

Monday, October 23, 2017 | Likes: 0 | Comments: 0

Mark Paauwe

Sales Director

Dragon1 Inc

Value Streams are Pure Gold for Business Architecture


In the eighties, people started visualizing the business processes in manufacturing in a very understandable way. They called this value stream mapping.

What they did was visualize how the flow of information went through the company and next how the flow of materials went through the company.

With this visualization one could see where time was lost, where quality was lost, and if the price of the goods or services had increased.

Beware: as Business Architect you might create a big impact using Value Stream Maps

So using this visualization, one could see possibilities to reduce the time spent and reduce the loss of quality or reduce the cost made. Without the visualization, these possibilities were often overlooked because some were not at all obvious.

Let us dive deeper. A problem in processes that are solved using Value Streams is, for example, that it takes longer to create a product that is expected by the customer and also is expected by the management of the company.

In this case, a value stream map can be created to find out what activities are done in processes that do not directly contribute to the development of the product. Sometimes a solution here is to split up the units of materials shipped from one place to another to speed up the flow of material, in this way speeding up the overall process.

Value Stream Maps

Below, the default diagram for value streams shows the information flow and material flow in an organization:

Business Architecture

Recently business architects have discovered that value streams also work for them.

Let's first look at the definition of 'value stream'.

In the Dragon1 method, Value Stream is made part of the EA glossary. Value Stream, in short, is defined as the series of activities creating a flow of value throughout the organization.

Here you can read the full definition of Value Stream from the open Dragon1 method.

The beauty of looking at the value streams in an organization is that you can focus on where time, money, resources, and quality are lost and spent needlessly.

Two rules are often used:

  • Try to connect processes as well as possible together so that they create a continuous flow. Dissolve waiting.
  • Try to spend only time on doing things with or on the product that is necessary to provide the product to the customer.

An example of using the first rule is: Suppose you have a product that is shipped with instruction manuals in 10 different languages. Instead of waiting for the Spanish and Chinese manuals before you can deliver your product, you can also create one instruction manual with basic instruction in 10 languages. And if customers want a more detailed instruction manual they can order it for free later on. What you do is speed up the process significantly, increasing quality, and reducing time and product cost.

An example of using the second rule is: If none of the customers make use of a module in the product, the decision of skipping to build and implement the module can save time, money, and resources on the product. Move it from Out-Of-The-Box (OOTB) to Optional.

Value Stream Maps can help to increase the quality of a product by making it a bit less complicated or simpler to build and deliver, without the loss of any features needed for the application.

Next, let's look at the definition of Business Architecture. In the Dragon1 method, Business Architecture is defined as the total concept of all business concepts.

Read a more detailed definition of what is Business Architecture here.

For example, the concepts of Self Service, Zero Waste and Client-Centric together form a business architecture. The strategy of the company may require the implementation of these concepts so that the goals in the strategy can be realized. The business architect creates blueprints, landscapes, and roadmaps on how to best implement these concepts and have the company move from the current state to the future state (where the concepts are implemented).

The business architect could visualize the Value Streams in the current state and use these to communicate to the owner/client of the company, what the problems are and how they are solved by implementing the concepts.

Below are three examples/principles of how the mentioned business architecture concepts will increase the quality of your product. You can use value stream maps to show your owner/client that the problems you are trying to solve actually exist.

  • Zero Waste: with this concept, customers will receive fewer disposable packaging materials from you, or receive more information digitally from you or see that you made an effort in producing it more sustainable. All increasing the quality of your product.
  • Self-Service: with this concept, customers do not have to wait for your call center to be available, for instance, during evenings or weekends.
  • Client Centric: with this concept customers are placed in the center by you. You constantly want to learn from the experience your customer has and you want to redesign your products and services using this knowledge. Therefore you will have to put an effort into knowing your customer much better. Implementing this concept in your company will increase the quality of your products and services because you align them constantly with the changing needs.

The owner/client can support his decision-making with Value Stream Maps. The decisions he/she takes may cost a large sum of money and have a large impact on current service delivery, but it could well be that it is necessary to do so, because of the strategy.

Value Stream Maps works well in this situation because this type of diagram is well known to a lot of people, certainly in Manufacturing, and the diagrams are easy to understand.

Creating Value Stream Maps

Dragon1 supports creating value stream mapping software including a basic set of shapes that can be extended very easily. Go to Demos to generate and create your products via Excel.

If you are interested in exploring Dragon1 for value stream maps please contact us via or call +31 (0)317 411 341 during working hours in the Netherlands.