Lean Planning

What is Lean Planning and How Can it Help

Lean Planning is a scheduling process striving for continuous improvement. Just like learning to walk, you try, try and try again! Lean planning principles are the backbone of so much I do and teach, and can be used in projects and life. Not just for pull planning, but business planning, life planning, project planning, today is the start of May and our deep dive into Lean Planning your world.

What is Lean?

Lean is developing a repeatable process that follows standards, and is constantly refined and revised to provide better results. Lean is a great project analogy to the phrase happiness isn’t a destination but a journey. Lean is the journey to continuous improvement, and although perfection would be nice, we want to get as close as we can.

Lean takes the big picture and breaks it down int the small realistic expectations and goals within short timeframes. These small goals build up to the end goal, and are actionable, definable, measurable and result in a plan that can be tracked. When a plan can be tracked against planned progress, errors and omissions can be identified quickly and change courses taken quickly.

Who Uses Lean?

Lean is part of the Last Planner System, popularized by the Lean Construction Institute (LCI) and used in many applications through manufacturing, design, development and construction. Lean is used by Project Managers, Program Managers, Schedulers, Manufacturers and can be adopted by you to help streamline your projects and life.0

Big & Small Uses for Lean

I have used lean on multi-million dollar projects. I have used lean on smaller 5 and 6 figure projects. I have used lean to plan out life. Some great examples of uses for Lean Planning:

✦ Construction

✦ Design Projects

✦ Manufacturing Processes

✦ Marketing Launch

✦ Multi-concurrent projects with shared resources

✦ Personal Projects & Defined Goals.

Lean is Defined. Lean is Flexible.

Unlike Change Management, Lean Planning isn’t a long and hard to define change. Tasks should be defined in small day or week long chunks, breaking down each milestone to actionable items that can be defined.

We’re goin to break down two examples to better outline how lean planning defines scopes and tasks.

When planning out your week, do you define your tasks as “plan instagram ads” or “plan 3 instagram ads for next week”?

One is vague, leaving room for interpretation and setting you up for failure. Maybe you only get 1 ad done, but it’s an add and you check it off your list. There’s nothing to say you’re behind or should focus on making up the work the following week. Next week you do the same, and eventually you’re so far behind where you wanted to be, but there were no triggers to pull your act together.

If you had defined the task as plan 3 ads for Instagram next week, and you only made it to 1, you could decide how to make up for the lost time in the following week or two. This allows you to identify an error and quickly change course to correct it.

This is the essence of lean planning, defining your tasks to a measurable level so you can track and make changes quickly with minimal waste or rework.

Lean planning helps you KNOW when things are running behind BEFORE its too late, and allows for swift changes to prevent long term delays.

Join me throughout May for more on Lean Planning and a deep dive into how Lean Planning can help you, and how you can adopt it into your projects, business and life.