The management of a project can be packed with variables that might delay or decline the quality of the job. Such variables have to be essentially eliminated to ensure the completion of the project on time. Some examples of these variables include:

  1. Ineffective and impractical planning that might require starting over from square one. 
  2. Too many people and too many meetings in one project might lead to the majority of the employees zoning out and not paying attention. 
  3. Waiting for email replies, work from other employees or departments leads to unnecessary delays.
  4. Allocation of simple work to highly-paid and skilled employees results in wastage of potential. 
  5. Moving a single piece of information among a group of people who work together but not in the same place holds up the finishing of work.

There are several ways to tackle the problem of wastage in project management, some of them are listed below:

Lean Project Management 

Lean Project Management focuses on:

  1. Removing any procedures and processes that do not add value to the task.
  2. Achieving more and working with less, i.e, churning the optimum out of the available resources.
  3. Eliminating waste.

According to the Project Management Institute (PMI), ‘lean’ is a “quality improvement and management philosophy” where quality, production time, and cost are improved by eliminating waste. These wastes include over-planning, unreasonable amounts of documentation, unfruitful meetings, avoidable reworks, unproductive multi-tasking, and so forth. 

5 Core Principles of Lean

  1. Identify the value of timelines, essentials and expectations defined by the customer. 
  2. Map the value stream by recognizing and eliminating steps that do not add value. 
  3. Create flow by removing the existing interruptions and dependencies.
  4. Establish pull– now that the flow has been determined, customers can expect their product in a punctual fashion. 
  5. Seek perfection- even though achieving perfection is next to impossible, striving for improvement is a more achievable goal. This also helps incorporate the lean wastage model in corporate culture. 

Principles of Lean Project Management 

Believe your project to be a process.

Each activity in your project is a process which will contain input and output as well as supply and customer. Make sure to understand these inputs and outputs to avoid future delay. It might also help in focussing on work that is important and minimize excessive work. 

Analyze your boundaries and scope 

Comprehend and work within your circle of influence. Once you understand this, you understand the potential scope of running a lean business. It is also crucial to understand your own capabilities so as to carry out a project successfully. 

Discover the root cause of your problems.

Try to analyze your problems at depth rather than focusing on them as if they are a symptom. Tools like fishbone diagram and 5 whys can help do the same. 

Focus on value added activities and eliminate the waste.

Once you’ve found and recognized the problem, try to solve it as soon as possible and move on to the next stage of the project.

Strive to improve.

Lessons learned while carrying out your lean project can often be just used and forgotten. Instead, the more beneficial way of doing things is to keep a weekly check over your projects. Then, examine what you have done wrong as well as the “plus points” of a project. Furthermore, try to do things differently, the next time over. 

Respect your customers’ demand for value. 

The main agenda of a lean project involves delivering to the customer. Additionally, understand what is asked of you as a project manager. Take the Critical To Customer(CTC) value in mind, which will help you deliver the value your customer actually cares about. 

As a project manager, you can have the following customers and stakeholders,

  1. Sponsor
  2. Programme manager/director
  3. Project Team
  4. Project management office

Some critical questions to ask are – What are they asking for? How can you focus on what is essential to them? 

Projects like that of lean management stand vital to the process of project management as they help do the work faster and more efficiently. In recent years, with the increase in workforce and potential, such practices come in handy to manage skills and the skill-holder better.