The Lean Office Blog

The Lean Office – Lean Project Work

Exciting news! Based on input from users, we are pleased to bring you another new update to The Lean Office.

There are several benefits of having standard work in an office setting, but what if the work you do every day doesn’t fit nicely into checklists or SOPs that you can complete over a 15-minute or 2-hour period? What if your work includes days-or even weeks-between steps? And what if you share that work with other people? We often think of standard work as something you pick up and set down one time while completing a task. For people in an office setting, work often involves crossing weeks and months, and several departments. These individual work “projects” often overlap, where you have several occurring at the same time. Think about processes like new employee hiring/on-boarding, new part introductions and engineering changes, or new account implementations. How do you approach Lean project work?


User Story – Nick W.

lean project workOne of our users spends his entire day doing this kind of work. Nick W. is in charge of implementing new accounts in a service industry, and at any given time, he has between ten and twenty customers being implemented, all at various stages within the process. A typical implementation involves thirty tasks across a ten-week period. In other words, in the next ten weeks, he’s going to be managing 300-600 unique tasks, any one of which could cause a major customer service issue at the time when customers are typically paying the most attention to the service they are receiving.

Because each of these projects is independent, Nick has to manage them on individual spreadsheets. When someone asks him for a status update, he has to review each project to see which projects are ahead or behind. When deciding what to work on today, he has to review each project to decide what’s most urgent. Also, all updates to task and project status come directly from him, since he’s the only person tasked with maintaining the documents. After talking through these issues with Nick, we developed a tool that allows users to manage Project Work in a different way.


Lean Project Work

Our new Project Work module is designed to allow users to manage standard project work in a better way, making Lean project management a reality. By defining roles and tasks with planned start and end days, users can create project templates based on the best-fit plan, and adjust for individual projects. Once that template is defined, individual projects can be created based on the template. By assigning individual owners to project roles and determining the start or end date of this project, the tool will automatically generate action items with the correct start and finish dates and owners.

manage lean project work screenshot

Users have live visibility to the status of all projects.

Not only does Nick now have instant visibility to the status of all his projects, individual users are able to maintain their own action items through the Action Items module. In other words, your daily to-do items now appear in the same list with any project tasks assigned to you. This allows everyone to understand everything they are responsible for in a single page, instead of maintaining multiple lists and files. And when Nick needs to meet with an individual project team, he can use the “View Project” page to manage an individual list of tasks specific to that project.

A big thanks to Nick, who suggested this new module. Please keep the great ideas coming everyone!


The Project Work module is available for all plans, including the Basic Plan-which is free for up to five users! Interested in learning more about The Lean Office and how it can help your team? Click below to find out more.

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