Fill Lead Time

The first timeline at the bottom can be filled:

1. The Lead Time or Clock-Time. The clock-time starts running when the process starts: it keeps ticking like a stopwatch. Day and night, weekends, holidays just until the process is done.

This is the time the customer of the process experiences; what he needs to wait.

Hint: ‘Start’ the process at wednesday 14:00 (middle of the week) 

Filling the Leadtimeline. Starting at the first trigger moment of the process, until the last activity is done.

  • [Lead Time] includes ALL time: nights, weekends, holidays….and actual working time.
  • It takes an artificial start- and end-point; points that are easily identified. 
  • It is the time the customer has to wait for the output of the process.


Lead Time: How long does process take?

Analyze the time the whole process takes.

In timeline 1, the upper line of the time-section (bottom of the form), we will estimate the ‘clock-time’ or Lead Timeline’.

Between the start and the end of the process, the time keeps ticking away, the clock keeps running, as if you would have started a stopwatch at the start of the process. You will have to make rough estimations and assumptions here. Imagine the process starts on an average day, let’s say Wednesday at 12:00, and the first action is being performed, what would probably be the moment when the second actions will start? And the next? And so on. Remind people probably work only till 17:00!

So a process that is not finalized at the end of the working day, will have to wait at least 16 hours until the next day at 8:00, but more probably even later, since the person that has to perform the next step will do other things first.

Remember to look at the process from the perspective of the subject being handled in the process, not from the people who handle it! 

For every action in the process, write down when it would most probably be performed. Allow rough estimations, and taking into consideration the reality of people not just waiting to start a tasks when it comes in.

Note the day of the week and the hour. Don’t forget to take into account the nights, weekends and even holidays when actors are not present.

Remember the use of  black boxes: the time the customer needs to respond, decide etc. might be blanked out, in order to show YOUR process capability.

“When you can decide immediately, we can deliver in X time”


In Holland, many webshops promise:

“Ordered before 23:59 ? Next day delivery!”

How to handle activities that have a wide variation

Sometimes the time used for a certain activity is widely varying, depending on the situation.

In such cases, it can be useful to learn about the dynamics in such steps. Is the step varying between 1 hr. and 1 day? Or is it between 1 hr. and 30 days, but on average 3 days.

The accuracy of such estimations is not so relevant, relevant is to visualize the huge spread, or in other words: The low reliability of this part of the process.

Where this is useful, note minimal, the maximal and a good average of the time.

Some tips

  • Where accurate information on time lines & resource is not available – e.g. “ it can take between 1hr to 1 day” – then agree a “typical” time
  • If the process owners (mappees) can’t agree a typical time, the alternative is to map in “min” & “max”
  • During the creation of a Makigami discussion on how the process actually flows can occur. Make sure that team members can check with colleagues.
  • Also issues that need improvement or further investigation will come to the surface. Use a parking list for these items to prevent endless long discussions
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