Best Value Stream Mapping Book – Learning To See Review

Often they ask me what is the best value stream mapping book. My answer is “Learning to see” by Rother and Shook.

✅ Download the PDF on Value Stream Mapping here:

🔽 Download the first part here:

📕 Buy the book – Learning to See.


🏫 Value Stream Mapping Tutorial:




Learning to see is a must-read book for Lean Engineers that want to start understanding how to use the value stream mapping as a key tool to create value and eliminate muda.

It was written in 1999 by Rother and Shook, and it a “step by step” manual to use value stream mapping as a blueprint for improvement.

First and foremost, I love the format that is colored, big, and with internal separations to go directly into the part of the book you are interested in.

The book is divided into 5 parts.



Part 1 is getting started.

Here you will find:
– What is Value Stream Mapping
– The difference between Material and Information Flow
– What is a product family
– The role of the Value Stream Manager

You will find a link to the first part in the description below.



Part 2 is focused on the current state VSM.

Here you will find tips as:
– Map the whole Value Stream by yourself.
– Always draw by hands & pencils.

Then, you will be guided to a deep understanding of the 5 elements of the value stream map.

A) Customer Request
B) Process Boxes and Inventory
C) Material Flow
D) Information Flow
E) Timeline

All the VSM Symbols, which are a worldwide standard now, are explained in this part.



Part 3 is about the Lean Principles

I agree with the authors that before moving to the future state, you have to be familiar with the lean principles that will help you to create a lean value stream.

It is described in the book, why overproduction is the most important of the 7 wastes, and 7 guidelines are suggested to create a future state value stream map.



Part 4 is about the future state.

The reader is guided through 8 questions to draw the future state.

A couple of those are:

– What is takt time?
– Where can you use the continuous flow?

By looking at the current state and doing to the team 8 questions, you will obtain a lean future state.



Part 5 is about the implementation plan.

Now you have your current house and the project of the new one to build.

This part will help you to divide the execution plan into steps with practical advice, templates, and clear roles and responsibility.




Learning to See is a must-have book for people that want to draw a value stream map step by step with all the relevant information.

It is a 100-page book very dense of useful information and has to be read more than once.

I suggest you start a Value Stream Mapping real exercise immediately after the first reading.