Leading Lean Projects

Table of Contents

The concepts of Lean principles.

The voice of the customer.

Critical customer requirements.

Critical to quality.

Critical to process.

Identification of wastes of lean.

Waste reduction.

Effect on the overall project

Tools and techniques of PMBOK..

Analysis of team effectiveness.

The project ground rules.

Meeting management


Human resource management

Supplier management (Procurement)

Personal reflection.

Project deserving this award.

Lessons from the case study.


1. The Concepts of Lean Principles

The concept of the case study can be seen, which is based on getting the plants safely back on track in the shortest period. The column which has to be repaired was the core portion of the industry, which gave a considerable amount of output as it was used to process the hydrogen. This column was the most crucial component of the long chain of equipment, which was meant for the conversion of coal to oil and other chemicals. Therefore, this project had its significant value, and the company wants this project to complete as soon as possible because there was a chance that the company's income will have to suffer due to this. Moreover, in this entire project, it was revealed that the damaged area of the shell would have to be removed, and a new section of the shell will be installed in the column, and at last, the recommissioning of the unit will take place. One point is quite admirable in the case study that one entire team was ready to work for the project, which made this project a huge success. Every person of the group was coming up with new ideas through which they could save time and provide value to both the company and customers (Bhasin, 2013). Taking one example from the case study, further, the lean principle of project management will be assessed that can be used in the projects discussed in the case study.

The Voice of The Customer

The voice of the customer was used in the case study to provide the customers with the best service or product according to their feedback. Now, the project of installing a new column was a need of the company because, without a row, the coal was not able to be changed to oils and other chemicals, which would be an issue for the customer as they will not be able to receive their wanted products timely. Therefore the voice of the customer could have suffered the problem in this case.

Critical Customer Requirements

Taking care of the requirement of the customers is one of the essential lean principles of project management. The condition of the customers may vary, but according to the case study, the company named Sasol three that is one of the leading South African chemical, coal, and crude-oil factory. The requirements of the customers lie when they need their desired chemical, oil, or coal. But as mentioned in the case study, due to fire, which broke out in the carbonate regeneration column, a lot of operations were affected (Gabriel, Pessl, 2016). The company was not able to convert the coal into which was resulted in the inability to meet the critical customers' requirement. To address this issue, the company wanted to start a project to fix this problem as soon as possible to start the operation again.

Critical to Quality

After the entire team was constructed for this particular project according to the case study, a set of ground rules were released, which were about to be taken under consideration at every step of this project. Therefore, one of the ground rules declared was about quality in which it was claimed that the team is not ready to compromise on the rate at any stage of the project (Sims, Yan, Zaher, 2017). This ground rule shows how critical and essential the maintenance of quality for the project was. Every person of the project team wanted to give his 100% stayed with other workers to clean and prepare the material, which was to be inspected.

Critical to Process

Criticality to process is another lean principle of project management that provides firm support to the success of any project. According to the case study, the technical and process decision was required to be done by the upper management of the company. This shows how vital the process decisions were. So, all the steps to be taken were decided carefully and critically based on the advantages and feasibility analysis of the company. The process management was also part of basic ground rules that were declared before starting the project. As an example taken from the case study, the company decided to make two aspects of the core part of their processes, which were innovation and creativity, and enthusiasm, and commitment.

2. Identification of Wastes of Lean

According to the case study, the team of the entire project was quite disciplined and enthusiastic, and that was the main reason behind the success of this project. After the conduction of the whole case study, some failures and lean wastes were identified. As the lean methodology of project management is under discussion in the case study, so it is also a principle to remove all sorts of wastes from the single operation. Thus it was a duty of the management team of the company to remove and overcome all kinds of wastes from running operations of installing the column in the factory. There are eight wastes of lean, but few are analyzed and reported in the case study.

First of all, the project was declared to be time driven and not the cost-driven. This means that the company is going to estimate the entire undertaking based on time because the company wants to install the column as early as possible (Green, Crawford, 2015). In contrast, the cost was not going to be estimated. This leads to a lean waste of motion, which is referred to as the lack of direct access and colocation. Cost needs to be managed in any project along with the time; otherwise, the company can face a massive failure in terms of loss. This lean waste can relate to the knowledge area of PMBOK named as project cost management.

The second reported waste of lean, according to the case study, is referred to in the lean wastes as 'waiting.' It is mentioned that for this project, the communication needs to be useful, but as the communication link is formulated among CBI and Sastech process engineers (Chiarini, 2013). There was almost a 10-hour time difference between South Africa and the United States. This time difference resulted in long working hours, which was a disadvantage for the project. Now, this lean waste links to the PMBOK knowledge area of project scope management and project time management.

'Defects' is another lean waste that is reported in the project according to the case study. It is mentioned that some other functions described in the scope of the project were also running parallelly. Therefore, the times need to be estimated accordingly. It is also mentioned that some mishaps took place while assessing those processes, as well as inaccurate communication was transferred. This could result in an increase in the project estimated time, which was not acceptable. Project scope management and project risk management are the knowledge areas of PMBOK that can relate to this waste of lean.

The fourth and last waste of lean founded in the case study was about transportation in which the communication failure between processes took place. Although the project was tracked in every aspect, the team failed to consider the religious festivals like Ramadan as some of the Muslim workers in this project were not able to work in specific timings. This happened as a result of communication lack and was quite critical. This last lean waste of the project mentioned in the case study links to the knowledge area of PMBOK, known as project communication management and project human resource management (Antony, Douglas, 2015).

a. Waste Reduction

From all the above-mentioned wastes of lean, the company formulated some strategies that helped to overcome the wasted, and they were reduced as a result. The destruction of transportation was relieved when the company understood this problem and realized that the work burden should not be imposed on other ethnic groups. Therefore, the company updated the planning checklist to take care in case of future projects. Moreover, the communication was made effective through other mediums where there was a time gap often and more hours. The operation that was running parallelly were managed to be planed strategically.

b. Effect on The Overall Project

It is evident that the lean wastes are what that impact the entire project and disturb the processes being carried on. Therefore, according to the case study, the task of installing a new column in the factory was also affected because of these wastes of lean. The projects face some issues due to these wastes of lean. The communication among the project team that was strong in the beginning got a week after the enhancement of wastes. Furthermore, as the project was not cost-driven and was time-driven, so it was completed in the decided time, but a huge budget was spent over the project, which was not estimated before.

c. Tools and Techniques of PMBOK

As mentioned above, some PMBOK tools and techniques were used to overcome the issues that were raised as a result of lean wastes. PMBOK stands for Project Management Body of Knowledge". First of all, the project management scope was identified so that unexpected issues can not be raised. Further, the project quality management, time management, and human resource management were done so that all sorts of resources are used effectively. The risks in the project were also assessed, which helped the organization to observe which kind of strategies it could take to overcome them.

3. Analysis of Team Effectiveness

It is true that teamwork is very important if the company wants to make any project a success. Therefore, teamwork and mutual understanding between the workers or participants of the project is the core principle of lean project management. A project is not a success if every person does not give his/her part completely. According to the case study, every person who was the part of project team showed his interest and enthusiasm towards accomplishment of goal which was the installment of new column in the factory. The time was divided and the team workers used to support each other in tasks with quite a strong communication. Below, some factors will be analyzed through which the project promoted the effectiveness of the team.

a. The Project Ground Rules

First of all, the ground rules are defined by the management of the project to make sure that every person in the project team will understand them and follow them. The ground rules are printed on a paper and was distributed among all the team members. The reason behind this was to make sure that every person follow those rules and don’t act contrary to them. These rules were enough to bind all team members in one motive. Therefore, the project ground rules played an important part in enhancing the effectiveness of project team.

b. Meeting Management

Meeting management is another factor which can be followed to enhance the effectiveness of a team and to achieve better results. According to the case study, for the project of column installation the meeting management was little poor. The reason behind this was particularly the time difference between South Africa and United States. The time difference of 10 hours resulted in increase of meeting and processing time. Therefore, the meeting management was not that effective and did not took a huge part in the effectiveness of team in this case.

c. Communication

According to the case study, the communication among the members of the project team was quite rapid and effective. This can be understood by an example from case study that, in case of an incomplete work no person felt guilty or accountable because he knew that other team member will cover him and will complete the work left by him. Also, every process and decision regarding this project was taken after proper conduction of meeting and mutual communication. Every participant knew what the management team is up to and what strategies are going to be followed next.

d. Human Resource Management

Human resource management is another important factor leading to the strong team development. As mentioned in the case study, this factor is seen to be showing the devotion of his/her complete energy towards the project. The management of human resources resulted in the effective management of entire project team in which members of different posts and age group were included. The team members varied from factory manager to the site laborers. All of these member were ready to devote themselves completely to the work completely and honestly. Thus it can be said that Human resource management was an important factor to enhance the effectiveness of team.

e. Supplier Management (Procurement)

Now, this factor leads to the management of suppliers and how they have played their role in the case study to enhance the effectiveness of project team. The team work was reported to increase according to case study when the team members were not directly linked to the suppliers. The communication with suppliers were done by the project managers and other high management.

4. Personal Reflection

As mentioned that the project explained the in the case study took place in unusual circumstances as it was not expected. A lot of things lacked in the management of process as the proper project management approach was not followed.

a. Project Deserving This Award

According to me as I read and analyzed the entire case study, I believe that this project deserved the huge success. The success faced by the project and its management was confirmed because no one is that efficient to manage and plan a project in sudden terms. When the factory faced the problem of damaged column and they were not able to convert the coal into oil, the company took a decision of urgent basis to reinstall a new column. The rapid decision was then managed effectively by the entire project team of the company. All the strategies were decided and most importantly the ground rules of the project was the main reason that project is a success. The ground rules of project were very precise and comprehensive. Another reason according to me that lead to the success of the project was the team work. The team members of the project were very cooperative to each other and showed ambition towards the success of the project.

b. Lessons from The Case Study

After studying and analyzing the complete case study, there are some very important lesson which I learned personally from it.

  1. First of all, I learnt that how can one take decisions on the urgent basis and based on preferences when something or any process collapse down. Like the company whose column got damaged, and they make their plans towards reinstallation of column suddenly. I will try in my future not to panic if I face any problem and take help through proper strategic management and planning.
  2. The second lesson which I learned was from the ground rules identified the management of the company. The effectiveness of those ground rules can be observed and seen in entire case study. Those ground rules were enough to explain the objectives and strategies of the project.
  3. Another lesson which took from the execution of this project was from the team work mentioned in the case study. The members of the team, varying from laborer to the managers, every person was very cooperative to other. So I learned that the project can lead to a huge success if there is a team work and mutual cooperation is involved.

References for Waste Identification and Elimination in HEIs

Antony, J., Douglas, J., & Douglas, A. (2015). Waste identification and elimination in HEIs: the role of Lean thinking. International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management.

Bhasin, S. (2013). Impact of corporate culture on the adoption of the Lean principles. International Journal of Lean Six Sigma.

Chiarini, A. (2013). The seven wastes of lean organization. In Lean organization: From the tools of the Toyota production system to lean office (pp. 15-30). Springer, Milano.

Gabriel, M., & Pessl, E. (2016). Industry 4.0 and sustainability impacts: Critical discussion of sustainability aspects with a special focus on future of work and ecological consequences. Annals of the Faculty of Engineering Hunedoara, 14(2), 131.

Simms, C. L., Yan, L. L., & Zaher, H. S. (2017). Ribosome collision is critical for quality control during no-go decay. Molecular cell, 68(2), 361-373.

Remember, at the center of any academic work, lies clarity and evidence. Should you need further assistance, do look up to our Management Assignment Help

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