Not sure if lean project management is right for you? You’re not alone, but with the many benefits it offers, it’s not something you can overlook.
What is lean project management?
In a few words, this style of management aims to provide people with what’s needed when they need it, whilst also working with the minimum requirements to provide those services or products. Not sure what this means or how exactly it could be beneficial for you? Don’t worry, as we’re here to give you a better understanding of lean project management methodology, as well as why there are so many businesses that implement it.
Essentially, a company that applies lean manufacturing principles does so with the goal to reduce waste and increase value. Most of the time, they can do this by minimizing a whole host of processes; of which there are quite a few that you may not even realize.
Lean project management aims to function in a similar way, using these principles to help reduce unnecessary outgoings and boost results. You could learn more about some of the different methods of management here at management styles for effective leadership, but if you’ve never tried lean management, it can be worth doing some research into what it could do for you.
Five main principles of lean project management
There are 5 lean project management principles, first published in Lean Thinking in 1996. These are all essential to the core of lean management, so if you’re interested in implementing this strategy into your own business, it may be wise to learn a little more about each of them and what they involve. Here’s a quick look into the key aspects of lean project management:
Identify value #1
Understanding what’s valuable to a customer is the first of the principles of lean management – and for good reason. Before doing anything else, you need to be able to see what will be worthwhile, since this is a major step toward offering something that people will want to buy. Consider how this can apply to your business. For example, how could you improve your services to meet client demands, or make the products you offer more desirable to potential customers?
Understand value stream #2
Next, you need to be able to determine your value stream. One of the best ways to do this is by monitoring your current output. Consider your desired goals and monitor your workflow to see how closely they align – and by the time this project is complete, you may have a better idea of some of the flaws you could improve upon.
Reduce waste #3
An important aspect of increasing value is to reduce waste. In most cases, this can come in many forms – such as using employees more than necessary (known as Muri), wasting resources on activities that don’t provide any value to the business (Muda), and anything that reduces productivity in the long run (Mura). Fortunately, if you’ve mapped your value stream, you should already have an idea of how you can reduce waste in these areas.
Consider customer demand #4
Many businesses can take advantage of a system where you try to keep up with the demands of the market. This often means creating a product when it’s requested, or at least as close to this as you can get for what your company offers. Many businesses use this to reduce waste and take advantage of the current demand and most will find that it’s beneficial.
Continue to improve #5
The best way to keep it up is to simply do the same things again while assessing your situation and looking for opportunities to improve. The more effort you put into identifying flaws and opportunities for growth, the more you’re going to maintain a high level of productivity.
Running a company properly isn’t always a simple task, even with lean project management. If you’re interested in more ideas for what you can do, you may want to pay a visit to this entry on evaluation of management.
What are the pros and cons of implementing lean project management?
Most of those who have been using this particular style of management long enough are likely to agree that there are several advantages that come along with it. Here are some of the most notable pros and cons of lean project management:
- In most cases, it can decrease your overall costs – this can come in the form of things like reduced inventory and as a result, lower storage, for example
- Most businesses will get to reap the rewards of lower lead times with a good management strategy
- A decrease in costs can often help a business to focus on other aspects of their services or products, allowing them to grow and adapt to the market’s needs
- Higher concentration on quality, demand, productivity, and overall efficiency in a company will often contribute significantly to value
As you can imagine, these factors are not only going to be beneficial for you, but to your customers too. With better quality and efficiency in your business, you’re generally going to receive positive reviews and overall have high customer satisfaction – which certainly isn’t bad for business.
How to use lean project management tools?
There are many tools out there that could be perfect for those who want to learn how to implement lean project management.
You could utilize an application like the Work Time Tracker for example, to get a better understanding of how much time needs to be allocated to certain tasks. This is just one type of tool that you could use – and many options can work for essentially any kind of organization, regardless of which management style they choose.
For businesses that struggle with getting things on track and keeping on schedule, a tool like the Online Work Schedule Maker could be essential.
There are many more examples of effective tools too, some of which may be even better for your specific requirements. With this in mind, it may be a good idea to consider what it is that your company needs and see what’s available to you.