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Podcast: Value Stream Mapping with Karen Martin

Once again, I had the pleasure of hosting an interview with Karen Martin. She recently co-authored a book with Mike Osterling. It’s titled Value Stream Mapping: How to Visualize Work and Align Leadership for Organizational Transformation. (If you are interested in buying the book, it is available at Amazon.com.)

Value Stream Mapping Book

If you’re not familiar with what a value stream map is, just think of it as a snapshot of your operation from about 30,000 feet. It shows how the various processes connect to turn raw materials into a finished product for your customer. The map also shows the information that supports the value stream.

Traditionally, value stream maps showed the flow for a physical product. More and more, though, people are realizing the power of this tool in service and administrative environments. Applying the tool in this new way takes some finesse. Karen and Mike’s book touches on some of the nuances that go into mapping your Lean office.

That’s not the real power of this book, though. As I read it, what really came to mind is that it is a great primer for senior leaders that are trying to start value stream mapping on their own. Karen and Mike distill the lessons they have learned from years of experience into something that leadership teams can put to practical use.

Rather than turning this post into a book review though, I will wrap up here and let you hear Karen talk about her book. Make sure you listen to the “speed round” at the end of the interview. I asked her a series of several how-to questions about some of the challenges that many people have when trying to create and use a value stream map.

Click the audio tab in the table of contents to listen to this interview. Registered users will also be able to download it and listen to it on the go.

Finally, I like to think Karen for her time and for once again contributing a valuable tool to the Lean community. For more information about her book, visit Karen’s website.


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