Chains describe the series of steps needed to provide a service to the community and external customers. Food goes for example from garden to plate, furniture from forest to home, services go from enquiry to cash. Water goes from rain to tap to grey water irrigation to pond.
I this block we identify the chains that objects and people are involved in to produce the services identified from the second block. This section can also be called process, as objects and people and inputs interact to provide the services. As with the objects exercise, it is good to find a number of chains that are manageable; maybe one is too high a level, twenty is too low. Finding a catchy name helps, I think, like “from seedling to plate”, or from “food delivery to ordered meal “or “from enquiry to shipment”.
The interfaces and overlap between chains are really important to manage well, so these especially should be identified, perhaps in a process diagram. Remember that it is the white spaces, the bits that are unclear and the overlaps between areas of responsibility that create problems and even conflicts later down the line. Anything you can do to create clarity, or at least flag up potential problems will help the community down the line.
In some cases, there might be chains within chains. It is easiest if the chain with the chain is just for that particular chain. Play around until you get some thing simple yet comprehensive.
Check to see that all of the chains fit together and that dependencies and interfaces are identified. Check that it all flows nicely and that there is nothing missed out.
If you know what inputs are needed for the chains you might want to look at the resilience aspects of these chains right away. If not, we should go next to the input block and come back to chains afterwards.