Why Lean Works

Why Lean Works for
Organizational Innovation

Being lean adds value for organizations by empowering their people to make improvements. By using lean project management practices and tools, you can get the right people to come out of their silos and bring them together to collaborate and solve a business issue.

Once those people start walking through their processes, they begin uncovering simple improvements that can positively impact the employee and customer experience, the product or solution, and profitability (or the value created for the organization).

Check out the infographic below, and keep reading to learn more about how lean project management works.

lean project management infographic

How lean works.

At the core of lean project management is this idea of making improvements that minimize waste while maximizing customer or end user value. The magic of lean comes from this mindset shift of having people leave behind their functional affiliations and looking at the process through the lens of the customer (not to mention their upstream or downstream coworkers).

Being lean doesn’t have to be difficult (even though, as humans, we sometimes overcomplicate things). Successful lean events hinge on the following:

  1. Articulating a problem statement that the team buys into
  2. Pre-work (gathering key data and information)
  3. A strong leader to facilitate the effort
  4. Committed managers and team members to solve the problem
  5. A culture that fosters an improvement mindset
  6. Identifying and eliminating waste (or work that doesn’t add value)

After the team defines and quantifies the problem, the desired future state, and their go-forward action plan, the work continues as they return to their “day” job. The team will continue to use lean tools and processes to look for and implement new improvements. In lean terms, we call this Plan Do Check Act, or PDCA. (Sometimes you’ll see it as PDSA, with the S standing for study.)

This is where the rubber meets the road.

The team will have a series of these PDCA/PDSA cycles until they find the best solution. As the team tests their solutions and find something that works, they implement it and spread it across the organization.

Lean isn’t a single event but instead a way of working; it becomes a valuable mindset of continual improvement for your people (and a culture of continual improvement for your organization). By bringing together the people who are impacted by the business problem and having them look at it with a holistic, comprehensive lens, your organization can uncover innovative, breakthrough solutions.

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