What is LEAN?

Lean project management is a methodology that has become attractive to project team leaders looking for fast results on critical assignments.

Most project managers decide to “go lean” when faced with budget cuts or other constraints. Tasked with eliminating waste throughout a project or a process, managers are able to make their teams more effective using fewer resources.

Some think that “eliminating waste” means shortening or abandoning the traditional project cycle. In fact, lean teams rely more heavily on robust project governance & organisational processes than traditional project teams.

With strong governance and integrated project teams that understand their value, lean project management principles help managers eliminate waste. A strong work breakdown structure identifies which team members hold responsibilities for various deliverables and milestones. Armed with this information, a lean project manager can watch how connections, between team members throughout the project space, impact quality and performance.

Lean project management developed, in part, because of the excellent measurement tools available to most project managers. In today’s workplace, managers can review any kind of data, from the number of project hours clocked by a team to the amount of time required for specific tasks.

Because adding measurement elements might sometimes appear to be wasteful or redundant to some team members, lean project management emphasises a culture of trust and respect. Lean is a project management philosophy that works best when team members understand that new forms of measurement are focused on getting better results instead of placing blame for past problems. LEAN is best understood as an empowering philosophy.

Looking at the weak links in a project’s chain exposes some of the most wasteful practices in an organisation. By focusing on eliminating bottlenecks within teams and project processes, project managers can build strong routines for future projects or for future iterations of the same development process.

LEAN fuses perfectly with wpa’s evolved highly integrated design methodology. wpa have been using advanced risk management & programming tools such as Primavera P3e and Pertmaster for a long time to sculpt design side efficiencies through robust design lifecycle project planning. LEAN principles allow more fluid integration of design teams with the client and as such wpa have recently undertaken joint learning on it, through Spitfire Consulting, with LUL clients to further explore waste reduction through the client design team interface.