Managers are attracted to the idea that processes need to be ‘fixed’. But processes work the way they do because of the system they exist in. The system is the way it is because of what’s in managers’ heads.

If, for example, managers believe in standardisation, specialisation, activity management, service-level-agreements and the like, the processes will be poorly performing. Process- or value-stream mapping will teach you nothing about how the system is governing performance.  And if you cost activities in your value-stream map, you might even make things worse.