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Elyssa Pallai

VP Marketing

Digital marketer and translator, Elyssa spends her time putting NPD and engineering concepts into plain english and working on new and meaningful ways to connect with Playbook's amazing clients.

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7 Lean Principles of Lean Project Management

Elyssa Pallai- 03/6/19 06:26 PM

Projects are late one day at a time.  So, ask yourself, do you and your team know the number one priority for today? Why does speed matter? Because every day you are late to market, it can cost you millions. Here are 7 principles, if adopted, that can speed up your projects and create motivated, more satisfied product development teams -- that get to market faster. 

So, here are seven Lean principles that are proven to get you to market faster.

    1. Pull, not push task assignments

      Pull systems maximize work throughput (output) and empower teams. 
      In pull systems, team members pull tasks from their backlog which are automatically prioritized. Multi-tasking is avoided and you will find your teams are happier while working at maximum productivity levels.

    2. Visual project management 

      Slips on the critical path cause a 1:1 slip to the project completion date. 
      Prioritized activities across the company rank tasks by criticality. As a result, team members will be working on the top priorities to move the project forward at maximum velocity.

    3. Resource availability and utilization across projects

      Work slows exponentially when team members are booked over 70%.  So to speed up your product development system, limit planned loading so team members are booked 70%, not 100%. In this case, throughput is stabilized because team members have the flexibility to respond to changes. Schedules are much more accurate and projects are completed faster.

    4. Small queues for fast projects

      Queues are a leading indicator of bottlenecks in your product development system. The ability to identify queues and manage them effectively speeds up the system. Make work visible (with a visual management tool) so you can see the work and identify issues and risks, daily. In the end you'll get your products to market faster.

    5. Small batches for fast feedback

      Product development is all about learning. Slow feedback causes slow projects. To speed up learning, hold frequent, short, stand-up meetings instead of long, infrequent status meetings and break up work into smaller batches and iterations. This will help everyone on the team quickly uncover blockages and communicate issues, risks and status changes.

    6. Decentralized planning, ownership and management of tasks

      Uncertainties make long-term planning inaccurate. With decentralized planning, teams plan long-term at a high-level and short-term detailed plans 4 to 8 weeks out. When the people doing the work are doing the planning, teams experience strong team buy-in to the schedule. Short-term plans are detailed enough to be optimized. Delays are immediately exposed.

    7. Shared project buffers

      Teams tend to under-promise (buffer) how long tasks will take, resulting in longer schedules. With shared project buffers, teams create a shared project buffer. Shared buffers promote teamwork to complete tasks on time and reduce schedule padding.

We've added links to our Lean Leadership Training Series, where you can dive deeper into each principle with an on-demand webinar.


Related articles

Guide to Lean project management
Visual management
Lean project management
Lean project management methodology
Lean project management Kanban
Lean project management principles
Lean project management resource management 
Lean project management Pull vs. push
Lean project management task management
Lean project management and shared project buffers
Lean project management and decentralized planning
Daily stand-up meetings