Lean management

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Lean management
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Methods and techniques

Lean management (or shorter: lean) is an approach to managing organization by creating value for customer. It is a long-term approach that requires continuous improvement in all areas of organization. The lean management is about values, not ideas. That means, it's aim is to bring profit or other benefits to the organization and it's stakeholders.

The origin of lean management was Toyota production system, which has evolved into Lean manufacturing. As the lean manufacturing became popular, more and more non-production organizations wanted to use its methods. The lean management is an answer to these needs. It provides general principles which can be applied to production and service organizations as well as public administration or NGOs.

The lean management is similar to Total Quality Management, as it stems from the same roots and uses similar methods. The TQM was popular in 80s and 90s, and it was known more as a philosophy and set of ideas, less as a set of tools. This pragmatic approach is typical to lean management.

Main concepts

The main concepts of lean management are:

Main fields of lean

The main fields of lean management are:

  • lean manufacturing
  • lean office (administration)
  • lean development
    • lean product development
    • lean software development
  • lean project management

All these fields are described wider in separate articles.

Lean office (administration)

Lean office is a version of lean for offices and administration. It enables organizations to streamline administrative processes and create efficient, dynamic, continuously improved office environment.

Lean development

Lean development uses principles of lean manufacturing in order to achieve defects free software of design of the product. While the lean manufacturing aims at making product without defects at minimum costs, the lean development's objective is to create a product/software that will fulfil requirements of users.

Lean product development

The lean product development achieves effects through a set of 13 principles. The results of LPD program are increase of innovation (even 10x) and increase of number of new products (4-5 times).

Lean software development

The lean software development is related to Agile project management. It translates lean manufacturing ideas into domain of software development.

Lean project management

Lean project management is an adoption of lean philosophy into area of project management. It uses mostly tools and techniques of lean development to create value for the project customer.


Author: Slawomir Wawak