Effective Process Mapping, Value Stream Mapping, KaiKaku and Kaizen in virtual environment

Back to News


Effective Process Mapping, Value Stream Mapping, KaiKaku and Kaizen in virtual environment

Information Requested

An ICBE member would like to hear from other organisations about technologies currently used to allow for effective continuation of Process Mapping, Value Stream Mapping, KaiKaku and Kaizen events etc. in the Covid-19 virtual environment.


The member is aware of Teams, Miro etc. but as they have limitations, they would like to benchmark other available platforms to enable this work to continue remotely during these times.

Response 1:

  • We use MS Visio to visualized and maintain our VSM, and also to map our processes.
  • Since Covid-19 outbreak we have not had any Value Stream Mapping events. We are looking now at how we can have these events keeping the recommend precautions for Covid-19. We are looking into Teams as an alternative.
  • For Kaizen we have put together boards with Kaizen templates to fill out. We are having small Kaizen event with a limited amount of people to keep social distancing. No digital tool identified yet to support Kaizen.

Response 2:

For process mapping we are using video conference cameras for people to join the session on teams. Placing the board or map in front of the camera and the cameras we have in room focuses in on the maps. Great way of doing things like kaizens and process maps/value stream maps in current situation. Few other things such as having cameras on so that the person explaining the process improves interaction and understanding.

  • We use Visio to document all our maps. Find its definitely the fastest way to capture a map with all the templates.
  • We have received positive feedback on this process.
  • If anyone would like more info on the cameras we use I can get that also. (See photo below)

Response 3:

If you take for example the Value Steam or Process mapping question. We have had to take a very different approach in a virtual world. For example, pulling a large team together to map a process is not as effective in a virtual setup. See below as an example

Typical approach in a face to face situation:

  • Half day or day long workshops
  • Team to include all key stakeholders
  • Large dedicated or focused blocks of time
  • Opportunity to learn and understand from each other
  • Using PostIt notes, markers, paper, white boards etc
  • Creating the current state, vision on the Ideal Future state and deciding on Future stare 1
  • Project selection and delivery

New Virtual approach

  • Part 1 – Introduction session – high level map with key stakeholders for 1-2 hours
  • Part 2 – Break-out sessions in small groups to map individual elements of the process with the key owner or stakeholder 1-2 hours each
  • Part 3 – Summary and wrap up of current state map with full team 1-2 hours, it may also include a review of opportunities identified with and ease and impact exercise
  • Part 4 – Visioning on the ideal future state and also a look at future state 1 based on the ease and impact in part 3.
  • Part 5 – Project scoping
  • Part 6 – Project delivery/management with owners etc

Main differences

  • Broken into shorter time blocks
  • Smaller Teams broken into specific knowledge blocks or process owners
  • Teams brought back together for alignment and understanding for short periods during the process
  • Use tools such as Lucid Charts to capture the map as opposed to paper and whiteboards.

I have run quite a few of these virtually over the last number of months and trying to stick to the traditional approach just hasn’t worked as well. I am happy to discuss this in more detail and also other elements of your questions if you wish. I hope the above explains it.

I am using the Team’s tool and process mapping live in Visio, I ask someone on the Kaizen to do scribe and we then switch between screens for action plan process maps etc – I’m finding it very good.

As engaging people is more challenging in remote sessions, we’ve adapted our approach to bringing people together to brainstorm, solve problems, map processes etc. Making better use of some of the key features of zoom and adding other tools:

  • Polling to intersperse sessions with some interaction/light relief
  • Breakout rooms to tackle specific aspects of a problem or developing an idea
  • Coggle (an online mind mapping and process flow tool) to capture and visualize in real time our sessions
  • We’re using 2 co-facilitators per session to facilitate and visualize on the fly
  • Meetings are typically kept to 1 hour – 1hr 30mins.

From the Originator:

Are you aware that Office 365 menu now includes a Whiteboard application and you can use Whiteboard web version outside Teams, Microsoft Whiteboard App – not ideal for mapping but some useful templates available, here is a brief overview of its uses https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RH26Ncrvwsw For mapping out process the majority of replies were for Miro (which I will use) and Mural. Both received very similar (high) scores from independent reviewers under Ease of use and Functionality. There are demos and online tutorials available for both https://miro.com/ https://support.mural.co/en/articles/2113691-what-is-mural If you are looking to find something that mimics the experience of paper-based Visual Management then iObeya may be for you https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_yEL13Nc2k Or for you regular daily operations management https://www.kainexus.com/ DTEN ME is an all-in-one personal collaboration device for your home office if you want to splash out and treat yourself! https://dten.com/me And for dispersed team collaborating remotely: Perhaps you have someone on a production line and a remote team wants to see what’s happening, perhaps AR glasses are for you. It allows the remote team log on the glasses screen to see in real time what’s occurring in the production environment. https://www.outsourcing-pharma.com/Article/2020/03/17/AR-enables-coronavirus-safe-collaboration Online sticky notes for planning, brainstorming and organising with your team. https://ideaflip.com/