What’s the Difference Between Value Stream Mapping and Value Stream Management?

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Despite sharing the same acronym, value stream mapping and value stream management are not quite the same thing. Rather, the former helps you benefit from the latter.

Value Stream Mapping and Value Stream Management help organizations manage their resources more effectively so that they generate a better ROI.

One of the principal challenges that all large organizations face is that they’re divided into rigid siloes. And not only are these siloed business units not working together in unison, they frequently seem to be working in opposition to one another.

This structural problem is made worse by the fact that many organizations still do their all their planning on an annual basis. What’s more, that planning invariably revolves around budgeting as everyone fights to justify the money they need for their particular set of projects.

From siloes to cross-functional teams

What organizations should be doing is to structure their planning around demand, rather than budgets. And to then assess each business unit on how successfully their operations generate value for the organization as a whole. And not annually, but on a continuous basis. As Forrester conclude, in their Trend Report from July 20221,

“Adaptive, future fit organizations continue to expand their agile/hybrid-driven practices as they shift from functional silos to cross-functional teams.”

It’s that shift from functional siloes to cross-functional teams that holds the key.

The way you achieve that is to use Value Stream Mapping to delve into and get insights around your demand. Which you can then use to improve your resource capacity and strategic portfolio planning. And the best way to do that is the old-fashioned way.

Value Stream Mapping – how to do it

You need to get the managers and senior stakeholders from as many of the different departments as you can into one room, and then map the lifecycle of your product or service on a whiteboard in front of you all. So that you can see the flow of information, and of materials, as they move through your different operations.

This will give everyone there a much better understanding of where and why bottlenecks appear as a project moves through each of its stages from ideation to delivery.

And as useful as the resulting map is, the really valuable part of the exercise is the insights and clarity everyone gets from having a much better understanding of how everything from Planning, Finance and Sales is connected to what everyone is doing in Marketing, Logistics and Customer Services. It literally provides you with a picture showing how everything is interconnected.

What it demonstrates, more than anything else, is that you need to view how your organization operates horizontally, as much as vertically.

Value Stream Management (VSM) Tools

You now need to find the right software solution so that you can start putting all of these insights into action in the form of value stream management (VSM). Which works at all levels across your whole organizational architecture.

Whether what you want is a better understanding of which areas of your portfolio generate the most value for you. Or whether you want granular visibility into the specific elements of individual projects where value is being lost.

The right software solution will let you look at your portfolio so that different attributes get weighted according to the value they generate for, say, your ESG metrics, or for whichever of your strategic goals are most important to you. Which will give you valuable insights into which projects, or kinds of projects, to prioritise and which ones to put on hold.

Crucially, you’ll now be able to conduct this VSM on a continuous basis. And will be able to see at a glance, in the form of a chart of graph, why a particular project is being held up. Or why your portfolio didn’t generate the expected ROI during that last quarter.

So you need to make use you’re using the right software solution. Because all of that relies on you being able to manage and organize all of that data, so that they’re easy to read and can be instantly accessed. So you can see where you need to take action, and what you need to do. It’s all there on your dashboard.

Cora PPM makes you the ‘control tower’

Cora PPM software lets you conduct value stream management effortlessly, on a continuous basis and in real time, because it makes you the ‘control tower’. It gives you granular visibility into how your business units are interacting, in real time, as a project progresses through each of its different stages.

And it gives you that 30,000 foot, bird’s-eye view of your portfolio as a whole. So that whenever you need it, you can get that crucial horizontal overview of your organizational structures. Which will improve the way you manage your resources so, that they generate the maximum ROI for you.

Find out more and book a Cora demo now.


Use Value Stream Planning To Optimize Your Strategic Portfolio”, Forrester Trend Report, July 7th 2022.

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