Introduction to Lean, Six Sigma and Kanban

lean six sigma kanban

In our journey to discuss the different styles of Project Management, we have already covered Agile, Scrum and Sprint.  Today we are looking into some other popular concepts which might be alien to the traditional waterfall model of Project Management but are quite popular with the ‘new school’ of Project Management.

Lean Project Management

The main principle of lean project management is reducing waste in an already established process. The key to note here is that the process is already established. More often applied to manufacturing and production than product development or software project management environment. The focus is on key process improvement points, such as reducing bottlenecks and standardizing means of production. Although it has a different application than the agile methodology, the two share common elements such as pipelining and valuing a strong facilitator

wastage in lean project management - Introduction to Lean, Six Sigma and Kanban

Six Sigma

Six Sigma is a set of tools for process improvement. So while Lean was more aligned towards factory, plants, production line, basically manufacturing type of environments, Six Sigma can be applied in software development environment as well. Originally developed for General Electric, it’s now utilized across the industrial sectors. Six Sigma improves output quality by seeking and removing the sources of defects and variability. You achieve that by analyzing empirical data, it creates a hierarchy within an organization of improvement experts who continually seek out ways to reduce inefficiency.

Some of the tools used to six sigma quality levels are – Brainstorming, Affinity Diagram, Histogram and Pareto Charts

six sigma values with example - Introduction to Lean, Six Sigma and Kanban


Kanban is best employed with knowledge workers and most commonly for just-in-time delivery products. Kanban method is closely related to both the agile and lean methodologies and can often be combined effectively with the scrum methodology. Since its important to not overload the employees, this methodology visualizes the entire process so team members can view and understand where they are in the process. Kanban works with existing processes and implements micro changes. Sweeping changes may produce results faster, this method follows the belief that the success rate of incremental changes is greater than quickly introduced, vast changes.

kanban board example - Introduction to Lean, Six Sigma and Kanban

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