It’s often challenging to find time to manage projects in an IT environment that includes rapidly changing conditions. A few critical factors within this environment include haste, unclear expectations, arbitrary deadlines, etc.
A project may have been carefully defined with the goals accurately, the communication maintained, and the deadline met; however, the entire project may seem to be falling flat when it comes to the finished product. It may cause frustration among people such as stakeholders, external customers, and internal customers.
Lean and Six Sigma principles, incredibly Lean, can be applied to IT projects. These are known for efficiency improvements, reduced costs, improved IT Project Management Services, innovation, and customer satisfaction in manufacturing and engineering.
This article discusses the role of Lean and Six Sigma principles in an Agile IT project management environment. Agile projects may be short, iterative processes with more room for experimentation where Lean principles are more effective. By looking at problem areas in Agile, we can see places where Lean can provide solutions. Lean is based on a problem/solution method instead of Agile, where the goal.
Traditional project management is a quick study of the Agile project management roadmap. A comparison of its methods to those of Lean and Six Sigma can be made and its advantages and disadvantages.
The role of the Project Manager is one of a team leader and a liaison between project sponsors and the execution team. In addition, the project manager is responsible for the project’s life cycle, namely Planning, Initiating, Evaluating, Validating, and Executing.
During the life of your project, project managers can focus on tracking, stability, and managing the project. Their job is to ensure project activities are completed on time and under budget and to have several project deliverables meeting the customer’s specs.Some of the common symptoms of a project that goes wrong:
These are all common problems that occur during the development of software products.
There’s a significant cause for nearly all these problems: most projects are still executing the solution they thought of instead of trying to create a perfect solution for the problem.Using Lean tools and principles makes it easier to circumvent the causes of these symptoms.
The application of agile processes on developing software results in the change of old methodologies. The Scrum Master is replaced with a Product Owner.Traditional project management life cycles can be compared to an Agile project management roadmap.
A Lean concept appears during Stages 1 and 2. A vision is being developed, and the project strategy is taking shape by focusing on the customer’s needs and the project scope. Stages 3 and 4 are more about applying Lean concepts and Lean principles. During these late-stage stages of vision, scope, and architecture, the idea is to get as much use out of the software product as possible and put it out there quickly to get people using it.
In stage two, the product features that the customer wants are compared to the product’s features and what the customer gets from the product.
In Stage 3: Product releases, the focus is on the functionality and significant features of new products and functionality updates and making plans for releases.
In the first season of The Sopranos, the mobster activity of Tony Soprano is threatened more by individuals on his bloodline and his mother and father-in-law than by federal agents investigating his gang. Tony is also challenged by several members of his family that are trying to control drug operations in Jersey. The family challenges are not only inter-family but personal; the
A Scrum consists of a Daily Scrum, in which the team is assembled, communication is reviewed, project changes are discussed, and a Sprint Review is performed to demonstrate the working product.Sprint Retrospective is the end of a project’s roadmap and a point where a project’s development is discussed. Sprint Retrospectives allow the team to think about what didn’t work and how to improve.
Agile has several ways to manage projects, but Lean principles can also be integrated into the agile process. They are both iterative and focus on continuous education and improvement cycles. As an aid to understanding why they should be blended, we should examine their differences.
Project sponsors must be involved in a business-oriented Agile project. However, they may be out of the picture in a Lean approach with a strategic view of the product and a focus on continuous improvement.
Agile development focuses more on the details of the philosophy laid out in the Manifesto, while Lean development emphasizes practical tools that help strengthen the philosophy behind the system.
One of the differences between the two principles is that each is mainly applied and used in different industries. Lean fit only into software development and agile into mainly the same industry. But there is a difference, as Lean can be applied to any project.
Agile project management can have some common issues
Scope creep; disconnected from stakeholders; focuses on efficiency; rigidity to defects and quality problems; assumptions about solutions rather than problems. The use of Agile project management can hinder fixing defections and correcting errors.Lean allows us to focus on projects in progress and deliver working software. Here are a few examples:
1. How much time do we spend waiting for projects to start?
Lean emphasizes looking at a company’s root causes and identifying the factors that led to an operational problem. Lean also has a strategic perspective. Lean is designed to reduce costs, rework, and project time; thus, the company’s focus is to reduce these expenses. Lean utilizes the cross-functional team remotely.
Lean principles are used to discover actual problems, making it possible to identify the natural causes of the problems. This leads to solving the natural root causes instead of continually working on assumed causes.
The Lean methodology is a set of tools that can analyze and improve a process.
Because making sure that all the people on a project are aligned on the same page helps with success, Lean principles can be used to help ensure that projects are successful. This is an essential aspect of Lean for projects where many people throughout the organization are involved in the project.