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One of the things that makes enterprise project management so interesting is that there’s always something new to learn. Whether it’s a new project management methodology, a new technological tool or a new strategy for running a meeting, successful project managers make it a point to pick up a new skill or competency every year.

If you’re not already familiar with the concept of lean project management, you might want to add it to your arsenal in the near future. The lean methodology is becoming more popular in a variety of industries, thanks to its focus on efficiency and flexibility. When you can lead projects using the lean process, you’ll increase your chances of landing choice assignments within your current organization, and of finding new opportunities when it’s time to make a career move.

Here’s a quick introduction to lean project management and the reasons why many organizations are moving toward it.

What is Lean Project Management?

Lean project management is a methodology that places extra emphasis on cutting waste and improving the decision-making process. The lean methodology is based on the related concept of lean manufacturing, which gained popularity in the 1990s. Organizations that adopt lean project management often find that it allows them to bring products and services to the market more quickly and with fewer quality issues.

While every organization takes a unique approach to lean project management, the methodology always involves a few core concepts:

  • Understanding the actual value of what the organization sells, and identifying the activities that create that value.
  • Eliminating obstacles that might slow down or prevent the addition of value at every step of the company’s business process.
  • Using a “just in time” approach to deliverables to improve decision-making and eliminate unnecessary work.
  • Continuously seeking ways to improve the project management process.

How is the Lean Methodology Different from Other Methodologies?

Lean project management has similarities to both agile and waterfall methodologies, but it is distinct from each. In fact, many organizations view lean project management as a long-term strategic commitment that becomes part of every project, while decisions regarding the specific approach to individual projects can be made on a case-by-case basis. This means that a project can follow the waterfall method, the agile method or even another method, and still adhere to the core concepts of lean management.

What Types of Companies Use It?

Lean project management has its origins in the manufacturing sector, and it is still widely practiced in that industry today. However, organizations in other industries such as software, engineering, marketing and publishing have found ways to apply lean concepts to their own business processes.

What Benefits Does Lean Project Management Deliver?

Organizations that adopt the lean approach to project management report a wide range of benefits, including:

  • Higher productivity
  • Better efficiency
  • Higher quality
  • Higher profit margins
  • Faster production
  • Lower inventory costs

Looking for ways to improve your organization’s approach to project management? Learn more about Clarizen’s industry-leading project management solutions to discover how you can cut costs and improve efficiency, no matter which PM methodology you choose.

David Goulden
David is a Product Director in Clarizen's Solutions Team. With over 15 years of experience working with startup technology teams and their customers, he joined Clarizen several years ago in the Customer Success team working with some of Clarizen's largest companies in the media, IT and financial services industries and authored some of Clarizen's most popular apps. David currently owns Clarizen's IT use case initiative and is responsible for taking Clarizen's Apps Marketplace to the next level. David has an MSc in Analysis, Design and Management of Information Systems from London School of Economics.