Lean project management or production focuses on eliminating waste and other processes which are not adding value to the production. Although this philosophy was developed in Toyota Production System, many projects in various industries use lean tools and techniques. Many industries such as software, construction, business, defense etc. may gain the same kind of benefits that lean has achieved for manufacturing.
The Main Principles of the Lean Methodology
Most of the projects are behind the schedule and/or over budget. Lean project management establishes a system to analyze all the activities throughout the entire project life cycle. Understanding each activity and process helps to identify waste and non value added process. The keystone of Lean methodology is to improve profit and customer satisfaction by maximizing value and minimizing waste. Lean project management methods include Kanban, Lean Six Sigma, Deming Cycle for continuously improving the process.
Lean thinking is to create a continuous value stream by using the resources effectively, reducing wastes, ensuring customer satisfaction. James P. Womack and Daniel T. Jones are the founders of The Lean Enterprise Institute (LEI). They recommend five principles in their book, Lean Thinking: Banish Waste and Create Wealth in Your Corporation to help organizations achieve success.
Below are the principles of Lean Thinking
– Value: The organization must understand what value the customer places upon their products and services. Determination of the value is based on the customers needs for the product.
– Value stream: Value stream is the entire flow up the products life cycle from raw materials through to the customer’s use.
– Flow :Waste should be removed from the flow of the value stream. If the value stream stops at any point, waste may occur.
– Pull: If the flow of the value stream is improved, time to customer can be improved. Pull principle helps to be sure that nothing is made ahead of time.
– Perfection: Lean system requires continuous improvement and continuous improvement brings perfection.
Benefits of Lean Project Management Methodology
Lean manufacturing uses less resources compared with traditional production or mass production. Human efford, floor space, duration is decreased. Below are some benefits of the lean methodology.
– Develops a culture of empowerment
– Reduces manufacturing lead time
– Reduces costs
– Reduces inefficiencies and unproductiveness
– Improves quality
– Improves customer satisfaction
– Improves profit margin
Project management processes can be improved by the help of lean principles. A project can be thought as a value stream from the project managers point of view. Then the customer requiremets and satisfaction should be specified. The project management team members must enhance the working environment by specifying and eliminating wastes in all the processes. Deming Cycle, 5 Why’s, Kaizen, 3M’s can be used to improve the processes. Effective communication channels should be established between the project manager to ensure the customer loyalty.