Lean Project Management tools

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A project is characterised by being temporary effort performed with the objective of developing a unique product, service or result. A project is completed or terminated once the objectives of the project have been reached or abolished if e.g. there is no longer a need for the project or it is determined that the project objectives cannot be achieved Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; invalid names, e.g. too many.

All projects are unique, even if the outcome of two projects is identical, the circumstances, project team and stakeholders of the projects will vary, causing the two projects to face different challenges and uncertainties.

Lean Project Management background

Lean project management is a business philosophy, that applies the principles from Lean Manufacturing to project management. The objective is to identify customer value and reduce waste in all business processes, leading to greater customer satisfaction and increased revenue.

As with Lean Manufacturing, Lean project management aims to reduce seven types of waste (Mudas):

- Over production

- Transport

- Waiting

- Over processing

- Inventory

- Motion

- Defects

Principles of Lean Thinking

To implement Lean in an organisation, James P. Womack and Daniel T. Jones defined five core principles, that has to be followed to have a Lean organisation. Making the organisation capable of delivering what is needed, on time, with minimal use of materials, equipment, labour and space(2).

1. Specify value in the eyes of the customer

To successfully create value to the customer, it firstly has to be determined what the customer sees as value. Value is the part of the project which the customer is willing to pay for. The focus of a project is to increase the value to the customer and remove the parts of the project that do not create value from the customers perspective.

2. Identify the value stream for each product

A value stream map includes all the processes that is necessary to fulfil the project requirements, both value and non-value adding. Once all the processes have been mapped, the value stream map is analysed to identify which processes are creating value and which are non-value adding and thereby combined with waste.

Based on the findings a new value stream map is created, were the non-value adding and non-necessary process steps has been removed. The new value map is an expression for how the process should be performed.

3. Make value flow by eliminating waste

Now that is has been determined what creates value for the customer and a value stream map of how the process should be executed has been developed. The next step is to create a continuous flow by eliminating Mudas, by dividing all process steps in the value stream map into the following three categories.

- Value –Added Work: Processes essential for creating value to the customer, the goal is to maximise the processes that falls into this category.

- Value- Enabling Work: In this category is the processes that are not directly creating to the customer, but at the given time are necessary to perform the value adding processes. These processes have potential of being eliminated in a later point in time, focus should be to minimize the Value- Enabling Work.

- Non-Value Added Work: Non- Value Adding processes can generally be eliminated instantly as they do not create any value and are not necessary to perform value adding processes. The processes in this category falls into one of the seven Mudas.

4. Let the customer pull the flow

By delivering value upon customer request, it is possible to avoid delivering value before the customer needs it, which is combined with waste in terms of inventory and a risk that the delivered value is obsolete once the customer actually needs the delivery. To avoid this, value shall only be delivered when the customer needs it, by implementing a Kanban system, this enables an organisation to implement Just in Time system.

5. Continuously improve the in pursuit for perfection

Lean is a philosophy that strives to support continuous improvement in an organization. It is there for keen that processes constantly are reviewed to determine the actual value of this process. Creating a perfect processes is an utopia, but it is possible to contently move towards a state of perfection. (3)

Lean Project Management tools

Deming Cycle

The Deming Cycle is an iterative model for performing continuous improvement, when staring a new improvement project, developing a new service/ product, when implanting changes etc.

The model is split into four phases: (put in figure)

  • Plan, by recognising and determining the problem to solve.
  • Do, develop a solution to the problem
  • Check, the effect of the solution, test the solution and improve it.
  • Act, once a suitable solution has been found and implement it. If the solution did not work as intended, the cycle is performed again.

Six Sigma



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