Lean Project Management Process

Lean project management focuses on completing a manufacturing project with more value and less waste. This needs to be done in a systematic way with a strong adherence to proven lean manufacturing principles, tools and actions.

Identifying Value:

The first principle in the lean project management process is identifying product value. The important aspect is the stakeholder for the project.

Stakeholders can be internal or external. An internal stakeholder normally is directly involved in the product’s development. On the other hand, an external stakeholder is usually a customer purchasing the product. Both types should benefit from the product’s success and thus be motivated to work toward that outcome.

Once the stakeholders are defined, identifying product value becomes much easier and more clear. For example, product value for an internal stakeholder could include managing an internal operations requirement or budget concern. Product value to a customer could include finding a solution for a customer problem or additional specification.

Map the Value Stream:

Value stream mapping (VSM) is an important tool for lean project management. VSM is a visual tool that involves accurately capturing the current and optimal flows of any process included in the project.

Comparing the two workflows will help identify the eight common types of waste across each project management phase to maximize efficiency. Those eight wastes, listed below, all represent opportunities to increase value.


Value stream mapping is a very important step in lean project management. Using it to expose flaws and gaps in the project life cycle and improve product quality for customers can be game changing.

Develop Flow:

The next step is to revise the project management plan based on the findings from the value stream map work. Removing the identified waste, implementing new steps to fill discovered gaps and adjusting the project stages and milestones to reflect the new reality are vital.

As an example, say the VSM exposed a work flow in the one of the manaufacturing cells that excluded a critical step and also included two unnecessary steps. Both of those issues were causing rework and the missing of production goals for the line.
The project management plan would re-establish the critical step in the flow and eliminate the two unnecessary ones to increase speed and quality.

Once the revised project plan is completed, the goal is to prevent future inefficiencies and keep waste from creeping back into any process.

Continuous Improvement:

Lean project management is not a set it and forget it process. It works best on a continuous improvement model. Whether the stakeholder is internal or external, the demands will be ever changing. Personnel will come and go. A process focused on consistently checking, reviewing, implementing and testing all processes and flows to find any problems and new chances for enhancement is vital for success.

Please contact Prosit for assistance with lean project management using value stream mapping to identify value and eliminate waste.

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