A value stream is a visual depiction of how an organization achieves value for a given stakeholder or stakeholders within the context of a given set of business activities [BIZBOK®]. It consists of value stages that are performed within the organization in order to create customer value.
If you are experienced in business process management, this definition sounds like the definition of a business process. And this is correct. A value stream is a business process that focuses on maximizing value for the customer. Value Stream Mapping (VSM) is a technique used in process methodologies such as ‘Six Sigma’ in order to understand how customer value flows through a process and how to identify waste in processes. When modeling value streams, organizations view themselves from an ‘outside-in’ perspective rather than the ‘inside-out’ perspective that were common in the ‘business process re-engineering’ projects of the last two decades.
Example for a Value Stream:
The value stream consists of five value stream stages and is triggered by the stakeholder ‘Private Customer’ to achieve the value proposition ‘Establish Account’.
Other examples of value streams are: ‘open account’, ‘buy stocks’, ‘order bank card’.