Lean and Agile Project Management may be defined as the latest version of a Standardized Work Template for managing projects. This particular Standardized Work Template builds on over 50 years of experience in project management, from Lean Product Development, Lean Construction, Extreme Programming, Agile and Scrum.
Lean Product Development is the project management logic first introduced at Toyota, when that company decided it had to speed up it’s product development process, in order to accommodate workers who were freed up by lean efforts in existing production lines. The Lean Product Development Toolkit is the basis of all Lean and Agile Project Management today. It includes the habit of working in Single Piece Flow (one project at a time), working in a One Room (or Obeya) Environment, to have one Chief Engineer responsible for the entire project, to engage in Concurrent Engineering and to use the typical A3 Problem Solving method for continuous improvement of the method.
Lean Construction is the logic developed by the construction industry, notably in the UK, as it started to learn from Toyota. Their major contribution to Lean and Agile Project Management is the Collaborative Planning Toolkit. Collaborative Planning is the habit of doing a detailed planning with all contributors on a Release or Iteration, in order to get the shorter possible lead time and to get the dependencies right. It also includes the integration of numerous suppliers into one single team for delivery and Open Book Accounting.
Extreme Programming was among the first efforts to make use of lean principles in software development. Adopting a lot from the original Lean Product Development Toolkit, developers engaging in Extreme Programming added Pair Programming to Lean and Agile Project Management. Pair Programming is the counter-intuitive but effective habit of having two co-workers working simultanously on one job -which interestingly often reduces the total amount of time needed to conclude it-.
Agile generally refers to a collection of tools added by different groups of software developers, after 17 of them got together in February 2001 to write the Agile Manifesto, laying down some principles for a lightweight software development method. The most important Agile Tools are breaking up Projects in really brief Releases and Iterations, breaking up Products in Themes, User Stories and Tasks and planning intuitively and relatively using Planning Poker.
Scrum is one great set of Agile Tools which has acquired fame by emphasizing the need to boost team spirit in any project and to offer a proper toolkit for that -and compelling terminology too-: To Lean and Agile Project Management it has added Scrums (or Daily Standup Meetings), Sprints (or Iterations) and two more roles and role descriptions, apart from the original Chief Engineer (or Product Owner in Scrum): The Development Team Members and the Scrum Master.