Projects can turn into disasters even in the best of organizations. This can happen due to a wide variety of reasons that range from incomplete documentation to variation in the processes being carried out. Whatever the causes maybe, the end result is always the same; Employees get stressed and organizations lose a ton of money.
Strangely enough, most projects do not begin this way, but changes tend to occur over a period of time. The problems are bypassed, instead of being solved. Projects are created out of requirement, without any strategy behind them or without any focus on the bigger picture. However, this doesn’t turn into an issue in the long run, because as knowledge based workers, we develop compensatory solutions and force them to work towards our benefit.
But, the real issue comes in when a project member leaves, taking all the knowledge with them or when a new member has to be trained from scratch. Plus, a project that is complex will only make things worse. As a result, we can end up with critical issues in terms of risks and outcomes.
This is where the LEAN management model comes into project management. The whole idea behind the LEAN model is to develop more value based projects, using minimal resources through the optimization of workflows. The outcome of such an approach is that we end up with a project that is profitable to say the least.
So, here are the 6 ways in which the LEAN management model can be implemented in our projects.
Focus on the end purpose
At the end of the day, the whole purpose behind developing a project is to gain a certain value from it. Value can be derived when the quality of services provided by the project are higher than the costs involved in the development of the project. In other word, what is the reason for developing the project and can it done in a more cost effective and faster manner?
Determine the workflow
Do not make assumptions about the project workflow. What happens in reality can be far from what we expect. It is part of our human nature to just carry our processes, rather than focus on how these processes are carried out. It is best to measure and track every step in the project workflow. The workflow must be methodical and streamline. In other words, if an outsider were to observe it, they should be able to catch on immediately.
This is a core principle of the LEAN management approach. Once you determine the project workflow, take a step back to identify elements that do not add value to the end purpose of the project. By eliminating these elements, you can streamline the project process and improve the overall output.
Test the project
On certain occasions, projects might fail to deliver, even though everything might have seemed to go the right way. So, test your projects and check to see how they deliver end results. If there are issues, sort them put and look for ways to improve things. Hunt for cold, hard evidence, instead of assuming things.
Empower your team
Make sure your team is motivated and ensure that all their skills are being utilized. Give more to someone who can more. The more they contribute, the better the project outcome. Eventually, you will be able to move onto the next phase without problems.
Use a systematic approach
Projects are rarely 100% effective. They are bound to fail or lag behind at some point in the future. So, make sure you can replicate improvement procedures, in order to enjoy sustainable value.