The New Lean: Beyond the Assembly Line


Enjoy this excerpt from the latest Lean Business Report. Download the full report here.

The new Lean empowers teams, encourages effective leadership, and enables organizations to deliver value to their customers faster.

Startups and enterprises are equally likely to be Lean, but for different reasons: startups for the speed to grow quickly, enterprises for the agility to remain relevant and competitive.

Lean maintains a strong hold in manufacturing, its original industry. But it’s also finding new applications in IT, helping global organizations reduce and manage complexity in an increasingly complex world.

In tightly structured, highly regulated industries, where the cost of error is high — like financial services, healthcare and telecommunications — Lean helps teams and organizations systematically identify and eliminate inefficiencies. We’re also seeing Lean grow in more creative industries, like media, entertainment, and retail.

The future of business is unfolding before us, with the new Lean pioneers leading the charge. Read this post to learn who’s practicing the new Lean, and how they got started.

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10 Benefits of Lean

benefits of lean

Enjoy this excerpt from the Lean Business Report. Download the full report here.

The data makes it clear that for most teams, in most organizations — Lean works. 92% of teams surveyed reported moderate to significant improvements in project success after implementing Lean.

Of course, the benefits of Lean extend far beyond project success. We asked our survey participants to name the three benefits of Lean that have affected them most. The diversity in their responses speaks to the widespread impact of Lean. From better management of process complexity to increased team morale, it’s evident that the benefits of Lean go far beyond the work itself.

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7 Traits of High-Performing Lean Teams

lean teams

Enjoy this excerpt from the Lean Business Report. Download the full report here.

In the Lean Business Survey, we learned that even teams just getting started with Lean were seeing results — 88% of respondents who self-identified as “beginner” reported moderate to significant improvement in project success. But what happens when teams hit their stride?

High-performing Lean teams differentiate themselves through their focus, communication, and sustainably fast pace. They think, plan, and work like a system. They optimize for agility, speed, and value delivery, so they can respond to challenges, both internal and external, without wavering in their vision or momentum.

We wanted to know how they got there — so we dug deep into more than 3,000 survey responses from executives, consultants, and team members to understand what habits, methods, and motivators make a Lean team great.

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Lean Flow: Priority #1 for Lean Executives

lean flow

Enjoy this excerpt from the Lean Business Report. Download the full report here.

What is Lean Flow?

Companies of all sizes are using Lean as the catalyst to improve flow, and thereby increase speed. In Lean, flow refers to the manner in which work progresses through a system: “Good” flow describes a system where work moves through steadily and predictably, whereas “bad” flow describes a system in which work stops and starts frequently.

To move fast and deliver faster – two major factors in remaining competitive – creating flow is more important than cutting waste. Global enterprises and startups alike can improve Lean flow by developing more efficient processes, focusing on value delivery, and improving business agility.

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Lean Accounting: Does IT Need a Time Out on Time Tracking?

lean accounting

Different companies have different cultures, but timesheets are almost universally abhorred by the work force — and yet they continue to stick around. Why? Because timesheets are acutely intertwined with traditional IT budgeting processes. While workers may be peeved at the inconvenience of timesheets, leadership is looking to them to answer vital questions. Questions like:

  • How predictable are we — do we consistently deliver value?
  • Are we efficient — what is the capacity utilization of the staff?
  • Are we straying from our budget — projected cost vs. actual cost?
  • Is the headcount and skillset right — does the current staff level serve the organization well?

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Respect for People: Lean’s Neglected Pillar

respect for people

Respect for People is one of the pillars of Lean and of our culture at LeanKit. We’re very proud of the respectful culture we’ve built together. It’s something that visitors and newcomers comment on when they talk about our company.

But, as I had to confess at a recent company meeting, we haven’t worked as diligently on defining and training people on this “soft” pillar of Lean as we have the “hard” Continuous Improvement pillar (by implementing tools like Kanban, A3, Stop the Line, automation, etc).

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Why You Need a Community of Practice

center of excellence

Note from the editor: In the original version of this post, we used the term Center of Excellence to describe a group of people who committed to learning and teaching Lean and Kanban methods within their teams. After several engaging discussions with internal and external thought leaders, we agreed that the term Community of Practice better represented the concept we wanted to encourage: a growing, evolving, inclusive community of people within an organization, committed to learning, experimenting, and continuously improving in their practice of Lean and Kanban.

In our experiences working with teams around the world, in different industries, with different goals, we’ve found one thing to be true: Developing a Community of Practice is essential for the sustainable adoption of not only our product, but of a continuously maturing Kanban initiative.

This isn’t a new concept; you might have played the role of “Community of Practice” in your team or department without realizing it. Often, the community will form organically, out of a desire to sustainably implement and practice Lean and Kanban consistently across a team, department, or organization. If you’re new to the concept, keep reading to learn why we strongly advocate for Communities of Practice as part of an effective Lean and Kanban implementation.

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