What Are Lean Project Management Fundamentals?

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Project management has the objective of performing the correct projects right so that customers, sponsors, regulators, portfolio managers as well as performers are satisfied. Both a project-centric and organisational perspective is needed in order to create a healthy process.

Bringing value from your customer’s perspective, cutting down on waste, and constantly improving help project managers improve their project efficiency and allows them to deliver more with less.

Whereas traditional project management is structured in a number of different phases, which separate planning from execution, lean project management gives teams the ability to deliver faster by managing their workflow efficiently. It also focuses on delivering value from the customers’ perspective.

What Is Lean Project Management?

The term ‘lean project management’ refers to the application of lean manufacturing principles to the practice of project management.

The ultimate aim of lean project management is to maximise value while, at the same time, minimising waste.

Lean manufacturing principles were established by Toyota in the 1950s. These were applied in the 1970s in order to combat the energy crisis. The term “lean” was created in the late 1980s.

The Type Of Waste Identified By Lean Manufacturing Fundamentals

Lean manufacturing identified three types of waste: muda, muri and mura. These are collectively known as 3M:

  • Muda refers to activities that consume resources without providing additional value
  • Muri refers to overuse of equipment or employees
  • Mura is operational “unevenness,” which decreases efficiency and productivity in the long term.

Lean project management aims to reduce 3M within the project process.

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How Do You Find A Balance?

The key is to discover the correct balance in order to enable control on the portfolio programme and project levels, maximise project and resource efficiency, improve flexibility, lessen risk and promote ongoing improvement.

This balance is especially important when regulatory compliance is an issue. For instance, where there are regulatory requirements for strict adherence to a process which is defined the simple way to comply is to create a one-size-fits-all standard and force everyone to follow it. However, this is too costly given its impact on effort, customer service as well as duration.

Even in very regulated situations there is flexibility. Divergence from the standard is permitted if it is justified as well as properly authorised.

Fundamentals Of Lean Project Management

  1. Specify value: What is the project’s worth in the mind of the customer?
  2. Chart the value stream: A “value stream” map demonstrates the entire process for the creation of the product or project. Once this procedure is mapped, it can be analysed for areas of waste, such as needless steps or actions which tax resources or compromise on quality.
  3. Make value flow by eradicating waste: Putting together an improvement plan will eliminate the waste identified in the value stream. This plan will symbolise a “future state” for the project’s process.
  4. Make sure that the value flows at the pull of the customer: The ideal situation is to only move the project forward or build the product on demand from the customer. Get as close to this as you can in order to reduce inventory and save on resources.
  5. Adopt continuous improvement in pursuit of excellence: Regularly re-assess the project process with the goal of eliminating waste as well as maximising productivity and efficiency.

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