Over the last several years, we have seen Lean become more and more prominent as a process improvement methodology. Although it has roots in manufacturing, it is starting to migrate to other industries like healthcare.

One of the key parts of the Lean methodology is Value Stream Mapping, a form of process mapping that is pretty data intensive. Templates have been available to download for previous versions, but with Visio 2007 we’ll be shipping a Value Stream template in the box. Here is a look at the a diagram created with the Value Stream Mapping template:

Since Value Stream Maps are so data intensive, they are a great match for Data Link and Data Graphics, both of which are used in this diagram to pull in information about the underlying process. Zooming in on one shape, you can see the text callouts and data bars used to show data like cycle time (CT) and changeover time (C/O):

These shapes have been designed specifically to handle Data Graphics well – something to think about when designing your own shapes for Visio 2007.