Value-Stream Manager

An individual assigned clear responsibility for the success of a value stream. The value stream may be defined on the product or business level (including product development) or on the plant or operations level (from raw materials to delivery).

The value-stream manager is the architect of the value stream, identifying value as defined from the customer’s perspective and leading the effort to achieve an ever- shortening value-creating flow.

The value-stream manager focuses the organization on aligning activities and resources around value creation, though none of the resources (money, assets, people) may actually “belong to” the valuestream manager. Thus, value-stream management distinguishes between responsibility, which resides with the value-stream manager, and authority, which may reside inside functions and departments holding the resources. The role of the functions is to provide the resources needed to achieve the value-stream vision, as defined by the value-stream manager. The value-stream manager leads through influence, not position, and thus can be equally effective in a traditional functional organization or in a matrix organization, avoiding the common failure of matrix organizations, which is the loss of clear responsibility, accountability, and effective decision-making.

The archetype for the role of the value-stream manager is the Toyota chief engineer, who has only minimal staff and resources under his direct control.