Principles of Lean Project Management: Amplify Learning
written by: Joe Taylor Jr.
• edited by: Marlene Gundlach
• updated: 6/25/2013
If lean project management is about unblocking bottlenecks and eliminating waste, then professional development is the tool of choice for proficient lean project managers.
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Educate Colleagues About the Project Process
In most organizations, team members often have little concept of the project cycle or its relationship to project quality. Therefore, lean project management advocates reserve a significant amount of time and resources to helping team members understand the rationales for planning and for measuring success.
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Planning and Professional Development Eliminate Waste
Some project managers run into resistance when asking for the resources for team training and development. In a process that is designed to eliminate waste and to improve productivity, taking team members away from customer-facing tasks might seem like a counter-intuitive measure. However, savvy project managers build training time into the work breakdown structure of each new process, especially during periods where team members would otherwise be waiting for colleagues to finish dependent tasks.
That’s also why successful project managers fall back on measurements of quality and project completion to make the case for stronger training and development. In organizations that rely on routine projects or iterative processes, measuring the effects of improved training becomes easy. Project managers can simply refer to quality metrics from previous cycles to illustrate the impact of stronger development processes. However, for project managers working on new or unique projects, referring to similar teams and success stories in the form of case studies may help impact executives’ budgeting and staffing decisions.
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Make Promotion Part of the Plan
Educating colleagues on an individual basis sets the foundation for project success. However, especially in larger organizations, project managers may not have the luxury of personally training every single member of a team. Therefore, lean project management practitioners promote the impact of professional development on organizations.
By telling stories about how colleagues’ development impacted customer experience, project managers can often lobby for more support from company leaders and from other team members. As a further impact on teams and on organizations, reflections upon success stories often encourage colleagues to embark on their own professional development exercises. The long-term effects of lean project management go beyond simply creating an efficient workplace. In fact, this mode of project management can cultivate exceptionally strong teams that generate high quality ideas.
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.