The principles of Lean Manufacturing can be applied to the world of Portfolio Management. Lean Manufacturing traces its origins back to the 1980s when James Womack and Daniel Jones researched modern manufacturing processes, seeking to identify the basis for efficiency, quality, and cost reduction in the production methods used. Later they helped co-author the book The Machine That Changed the World.
Our understanding of “Lean” today can be traced back to their findings: the most effective production methods focus on reducing time on "all parts" by eliminating anything that doesn’t bring value to the customer. This is easier said than done, though, as the philosophy can take years to implement within an organization and requires focusing on these principles:
- Value Orientation
- Value Stream
Lean Manufacturing organizations are likely to say not only that they’ve implemented Lean, but that the philosophy is their ‘way of life,’ their be-all and end-all, their raison d’être, part of their very DNA. Even if they have implemented Lean into their manufacturing processes, it is no guarantee they have brought this same mindset to their Portfolio and Project Management (PPM). There is value in applying Lean to PPM, though, as it can increase team efficiency and ultimately release projects to market sooner.
So here’s the challenge: How can you incorporate Lean Management Principles into Portfolio & Project Management (PPM)?
Read on to see which areas should be evaluated and practical tips on how to address each one.