Lean in Project Management

From apppm
Revision as of 20:21, 21 September 2015 by Lea (Talk | contribs)

Jump to: navigation, search

The article handles the topic of lean management within project management. Lean management has become a significant topic within management. As it started out to only affect manufacturing process and eliminate waste when producing products, Lean nowadays is applied throughout all departments in a company in order to eliminate as much waste as possible and thus increase return on investment. Therefore Lean can also be applied in Project Management.

This article will give an overview of applicable lean methods for project management looking at the project management process and its elements. While creating the process Lean thinking has to be incorporated in the process planning in order to make it possible to act lean when executing the process. Different literature for the topic will be reviewed. In the end applicability and limitations to the topic will be given.


Lean thinking

Toyota is the first word that usually comes to people’s minds when talking about “Lean”. Taiichi Ohno who developed the Toyota Production System is considered the founder of Lean manufacturing.[1] He was the first one to consistently and thoroughly eliminate waste and thus accelerate production efficiency. Lean manufacturing relies on 5 key principles which are:[1]

  • Identify and define value;
  • Identify and map the value stream;
  • Create Flow;
  • Establish Pull;
  • Pursuit perfection.

Within these principles the focus lies on eliminating waste. The different types of waste, called Muda in Japanese, which can occur were defined by Womack and Jones[2]:

  • Defects in products;
  • Overproduction of items no one wants;
  • Inventory waiting to be processed;
  • Unneeded processing;
  • Unnecessary transport of goods;
  • People waiting for input to work on;
  • Design of goods and services that do not satisfy customer needs.

Lean manufacturing’s core issue is to identify and reduce waste and become more effective and efficient. Cusumano and Nobeoka[3] start to extend Lean ideas to multiple project systems. Projects should be linked strategically through product portfolio planning, technologically through the design of common core components and organizationally through overlapping the responsibilities of project managers which is the beginning of thinking about Lean Project Management.

Lean Project Management

Lean Project Management by Leach

The relay race theory

What is a relay race

The relay race and Lean Project Management




Annotated Bibliography


  1. 1.0 1.1 Leach, L. P. (2005) “Lean Project Management: Eight Principles for Success. Combining Critical Chain Project Management [CCPM] and Lean tools to accelerate project results” Boise, Idaho.
  2. Womak, J., Jones, D. (1996) “Lean thinking: Banish waste and create wealth in your corporation” New York. Simon and Schuster.
  3. Cusumano, Nobeoka (1998) “Thinking beyond Lean” New York, The Free Press.
Personal tools