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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

Executives: Your Charge as a Lean Leader

lean leader

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

If we were to point to one defining challenge for businesses today, it would be innovating fast enough to keep up with the blistering pace of disruptive competition. Lean can help businesses do just that — but it relies on an evolved form of leadership to do so.

As Lean leaders, it’s our job to unlock all of the knowledge in our employees by aiming to give them — in Dan Pink’s words — autonomy, mastery, and purpose. We will get our best organizational results if we give our employees the autonomy to do their work their way. We can do that safely if we invest in their skills so they have the mastery to do the work well. And we will get the right outcomes, and recruit and retain the right people, if we provide clear and consistent information about our organizational purpose — not the dry “what” but the inspirational “why.”

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

6 Benefits of Kanban for Project Management

project management

To the uninitiated, Kanban might sound more like an appetizer you’d order at a sushi restaurant than a method of project management. Kanban may not be edible, but it is a Japanese export. It was created by a Japanese engineer at Toyota in the 1940s as a way to organize work and address inefficiencies in the company’s manufacturing system.

Kanban first piqued the interest of business leaders in the early 2000s, when it was primarily used to optimize software development workflows. Today, Kanban is being applied across all disciplines of knowledge work to help teams visualize, manage, and optimize their work.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

Going Beyond WIP Limits for Ever-Higher Organizational Performance

wip targets

You’ve probably heard the big news: multitasking is a myth. And yet, virtually everyone is guilty of switching between several projects at once — all while responding to emails, drive-by conversations, phone calls, and more. When pressed to deliver faster, we often overwhelm ourselves by attempting to take on more tasks, inadvertently diluting our focus and slowing ourselves down — a lot.

Continue Reading