Claude Emonde writes the weblog Surviving the Project Age at Project Times. He recently finished a four-part series on the Rules of Lean Project Management. Overall, he did a good job. Those of us who developed and teach the lean project approach don't refer to these ideas as rules. For us, we tend to think about principles. But, Claude has done a good job.
Make your choices and commitments at the last responsible moment.
Let's take a look at Claude's four rules.
- The Last Planner® rule:1 The one who executes the work is the one who plans the work
- Track promises rule: Track small promises that you can see over time
- Expand the project team rule: Expand the project team to include and integrate all significant stakeholders as part of the team as early as possible.
- Humans, Humans, Humans… be considerate to humans as, without them, no project can be a success.
Claude left out a few important ideas. The first is to make your choices and commitments at the last responsible moment. We've noticed a habit on projects to lock down requirements early, to get material on order early, to grab resources early. These steps rarely help and usually adds waste to the project. Further, we lose options when we act early.
Large batch production misses the opportunity for learning, creates the circumstances for waste, and delays the completion of the project.
The second is to PDCA everything. Much has been made of the tools, techniques and methods of lean ways of working. But behind it all is Deming's (Shewhart's) Plan – Do – Check – Adjust cycle. It's the embodiment of the scientific method. No company does it better than Toyota. Make it your habit.
The third has to do with batch size of one or single-piece flow. Large batch production, whether it's placing concrete, writing software code, doing design, or performing administrative work misses the opportunity for learning, creates the circumstances for waste, and delays the completion of the project. Couple Claude's four rules with these three ideas and you have the basis for doing projects lean.