For over a century, project management professionals have sought to cultivate efficiency in the workplace. The difference between a modern practitioner of lean project management and early project planners is a focus on the well-being of every member of their teams.
The tradition of project management that began with Taylor and Gantt in the late 1800s takes a leap forward for organizations that deploy lean project management principles. Like Gantt, practitioners of lean project management seek to create the most efficient organizations possible. However, in a decidedly 21st century application of business strategy, project managers who follow these principles aim to create great experiences for employees as well as for customers.
Give Teams What They Deserve
By eliminating waste, focusing on efficiency, and emphasizing personal achievement, lean project management can help teams discover tremendous professional fulfillment. Practitioners of lean project management prefer to strip teams of office politics and other wasteful habits by integrating conflict as a creative step within the project cycle. Because results are measured in terms of completed projects and not in terms of perceived status, organizations can be more clear about rewarding workers.
Offer Strong Leadership
However, making lean project management a reality can still be a challenge in many organizations. Some leaders fail to understand the benefits of dividing larger projects into manageable chunks. Some company structures resist the flattening of organizational charts that can happen after a few lean project cycles. A handful of company leaders might even be resentful of project managers who identify some of their favorite line items or work processes as “wasteful." To successfully integrate lean project management into an organization, project managers must believe in themselves, believe in the process, and remain strong.
Focus on Continual Improvement
One of the best ways for project managers to stay strong, especially during the early stages of implementing lean project management, is to promote the positive impact of procedural changes. In too many organizations, leaders preach that it’s okay to make mistakes while punishing managers who fail to meet goals and deadlines. The principles of lean project management lower the stakes for most project managers, making it less likely for teams to fail. Furthermore, with smaller projects and smaller impact for each project, failure doesn’t have to mean the same kind of disaster that occurs when large projects collapse. Communicating clearly about what a team learned from a failed project sends a clear message of commitment to improvement.
Lean Project Management Principles
Most project managers decide to use lean project management strategies when faced with budget cuts or other constraints. Tasked with eliminating waste throughout a project or a process, managers can discover how to make their teams more effective using fewer resources.
- Lean Management Principles: How to Eliminate Waste
- Principles of Lean Project Management: Amplify Learning
- Principles of Lean Project Management: Decide Late, Deliver Fast
- Principles of Lean Project Management: Empowerment, Respect, Integrity
- Principles of Lean Project Management: Seeing the Whole