Designing for benefits realisation with a lean approach
Posted by APM on 17th Apr 2013
How can a project manager contribute to realisation of planned benefits in a culture of continuous improvement based on lean thinking?
This was the question asked by Ian Ashley ahead of his presentation to the APM Oxford chapter in April 2013.
He went on to explain that many organisations embrace a continuous improvement strategy based on lean thinking (Womack & Jones, 1996) as a means of enhancing customer satisfaction and employee engagement to drive or sustain profitability.
The approach, developed by Toyota, has seen considerable success across multiple sectors, both public and private, globally. In his recent book, Ten Management Words, Terry Leahy, former CEO of Tesco, identified lean as a key enabler to business growth.
Many companies have however failed to fully realise the benefits they were planning for. During this presentation delegates heard Ian's insights based on his experiences, both as a line manager and then as a consultant, in implementing such a strategy. The evening looked at some of the pitfalls, and in particular discussed the discipline of project management within the context of a business as it embraces the idea of process based management rather than operating in functional silos.
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How most projects are at the same time both wildly successful and spectacularly disappointing, and everything in between, depending on the point of view of different stakeholders.
Agile has a lot to offer the wider enterprise, and we could perhaps see a time when the whole of an organisation is run on agile principles. Since this will not be about projects or programmes, I believe the emphasis will be on behaviours and structures as opposed to processes and tools.