Project Management

Customer Value Stream Interaction Analysis

last edited by: erin decaprio on Oct 2, 2006 8:27 PM login/register to edit this page

1 Applications
2 Procedures
3 Instructions
4 Examples

The technique used to identify and scope an enterprise's value streams and the customers it serves. Used in conjunction with Event Analysis and Customer Satisfaction Analysis, this technique identifies all interactions between the customers of the value stream and the enterprise, the responses, the activities required to satisfy customer needs, and the organizations involved in meeting customer needs. A value stream profile is produced for later use during reengineering. Typically, a matrix or tabular format is utilized for documenting this value stream profile information. (See Event Analysis, Customer Satisfaction Analysis, and Activity Profiling.)

A value stream consists of the work activities performed in the enterprise that are dedicated to serving the customer of the value stream. Customers can be true end consumers of an enterprise's products or services, other stakeholders such as suppliers, governmental regulators, or community, and internal constituencies such as employees and classes of management. From the point of view of the customer, the value stream is a "black box"; that is, the customer really does not care how the enterprise is structured organizationally or how work is organized and performed. The customer only expects and demands satisfaction (this is represented in the diagram below). Where there is marketplace choice, the customer will tend to choose the enterprise which provides the highest level of satisfaction. The focus of the value stream—beginning and ending with the customer—gives the value stream its purpose.

Analyzing an enterprise's value streams, using this set of techniques, is a powerful way of combining a focus and commitment to customer satisfaction with breakthroughs in operational effectiveness. This approach provides the greatest possible opportunity to eliminate unnecessary work, and ensures that all essential business activities are contributing directly to customer satisfaction.


  • To identify an enterprise's value streams and its customers.
  • To identify all possible customer-enterprise interactions and event responses.
  • To identify perceived customer needs, and brainstorm possible customer satisfiers.
  • To identify the organizations involved in providing (or impeding) customer satisfaction.
  • To define the scope of an enterprise's value streams, and document preliminary profile information.


  1. Identify knowledgeable stakeholders and conduct a workshop.
  2. During the workshop, identify and define customers of the enterprise.
  3. Brainstorm perceived customer needs.
  4. Create a number of "black-boxes" and identify all customer-enterprise interactions.
  5. Apply event analysis to identify the direction and response for each interaction.
  6. Identify activities currently in place and those required to provide customer satisfaction.
  7. Identify organizations involved in performing these activities, responsible for the event interactions, and/or providing customer satisfaction.
  8. Complete the customer value stream interaction matrix and draft activity profile.


To understand an enterprise's customers and related value streams, knowledgeable representatives from throughout the company are required. Working with the enterprise change sponsor and/or steering committee, identify and select the representatives (typically steering committee members and their direct reports). Following the guidelines of conducting structured workshops, conduct a workshop (or series of workshops, if a block of time can not be dedicated to the activity) to define the enterprise's customers and to discover the value streams (see Facilitation and Workshops). It is not uncommon to need four to five days of workshop time to fully scope out the value streams.

To understand the customers of the enterprise, examine the mission, vision, and other essential business documentation, and conduct an analysis of key stakeholders (see Content Analysis and Stakeholder Analysis). Customers can be grouped into customer classes to simplify the analysis. For example, a retailer may have several different market segments. These segments will most likely share common needs and have common satisfiers. In may be necessary, at this stage of analysis, to treat all segments as one customer class—the true end consumer—and focus on all possible end consumer-enterprise interactions. Note segmentation differences, as part of the profile or as part of the interaction analysis summary.

Create "black boxes" (for visual focus), and place on a white board in front of the workshop participants. Facilitate the discussion to identify the key customers and which "black box" they interact with. A customer should interact with as few "black boxes" as possible. For example, a true end consumer should probably not have any interaction with the "black box" dealing with regulatory concerns. Of course, customers can play multiple roles. For example, an employee has a certain set of interactions with the enterprise in the role of an employee (e.g., hiring, compensation, retirement, etc.), in the role of an operational manager (e.g., budget and resource management, information technology support, etc.), in the role of an end consumer (e.g., purchases the enterprise's products, etc.), or in the role of a shareholder (e.g., stock purchases and redemptions, etc.). It is essential to understand these different roles and which "black box" serves them.

Using an appropriate creative thinking technique, identify perceived customer needs for each class of customers defined (see Brainstorming, Displayed Thinking, and Facilitation). These needs are referred to as "perceived" since no real customers have been surveyed to determine their true needs. These perceived needs are a good starting point to provide focus, but need validation during "assess the current situation" tasks of a reengineering project (see Customer Needs Analysis). Document the needs as part of the customer description statement, or create a column on the customer value stream interaction matrix (see following example) to capture the information.

For each customer, brainstorm all possible interactions with the enterprise through the "black box" (i.e., the value stream). It can be helpful to take a total lifecycle view to focus the discussion. For example, an employee (as customer) first begins to interact with the enterprise through job advertisements and other recruiting related activities. Using event analysis, identify all key events to uncover all interactions (see Event Analysis). Alternatively, interactions can be brainstormed in an unstructured way, and the results can be re-sequenced to provide a life cycle view.

For each event, note the direction of the interaction. Make sure that all customer initiated events (e.g., customer service call request) and all enterprise initiated events (e.g., mass mailing) have been identified. Determine the typical responses from both perspectives. Document on the matrix accordingly.

Apply Customer Satisfier Analysis to determine what the enterprise is doing and hypothetically can be doing to provide satisfaction through the enterprise's interactions with the customer. Note any idea-sensitive areas, using a tracking mechanism for use during the exploration of breakthroughs (see Idea Qualification). Document these activities, using a high level decomposition diagram or an indented list on the customer value stream interaction matrix (see Decomposition Diagramming). (If an information architecture of the enterprise, or component of the enterprise exists, use the names of the activities on the process model to populate this column of the matrix. See Information Architecture Impact Analysis and Process Modeling.)

Complete the matrix by identifying the organizations solely responsible for performing the activities identified and/or responsible for each of the interactions and responses. Be as specific as possible. This information will be extremely useful for assessing organizational interaction and organizational readiness to change (see Organizational Readiness Assessment and Organizational Interaction Analysis). Use the completed matrix to populate the activity profiles.

Review all matrices and reach consensus. Adjust the workshop schedule, as required, to complete the full view of the enterprise from this customer value stream perspective. Typically, there are six to fifteen value streams in an entire enterprise which can be fully scoped, using these sets of techniques in a relatively short period of time. From this analysis, it may be possible to identify the value stream which should be the focus of reengineering. An enterprise can usually initiate no more than a couple of value stream reengineering projects at a time. Prioritize as required.


Customer Value Stream Interaction Analysis

Customer Value Stream Interaction Matrix

last edited by: erin decaprio on Oct 2, 2006 8:27 PM login/register to edit this page

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