How Lean Management Can Improve Productivity In Outsourced Teams


For software solutions development, Lean has an excellent management framework that aims to streamline the entire development process. Lean has also been adopted for software development management processes and has led to the market for lean management software tools. Software like Kanbanchi for the G Suite and Microsoft Dynamics development platform for Microsoft Dynamics developer show some of the tangible effects of Lean management.

There are several types of Lean project management methodology, such as Lean Six Sigma (DMEDI), Deming Cycle (PDCA), and Kanban.

Lean Six Sigma

  • Define and outline the scope, goals, and value of the project for customers.
  • Measure success and qualify progress for the project.
  • Explore ways to improve the process by completing the projects.
  • Develop a detailed consumer-centric plan for the project.
  • Implement the developed plan.

Deming Cycle

  • Plan and analyze the core customer problem.
  • Do develop solutions geared towards addressing the problem.
  • Check the effectiveness and improvements made to developed solutions.
  • Act and implement changes to developed solutions.

This type of management is most applicable to recurring projects, such as phased software solution development.



Identify Value

This principle requires constant communication to ensure adherence to established goals and deliverables, as well as clarification on the details and potential conflicts for the project. An effective value identification can lead to:

  • Improved customer relationships
  • Increased consumer satisfaction
  • Reduce risks and wasted project resources

Map the Value Streams

Developing a VSM may include steps not necessarily identified as a deliverable for a task by the consumer but are identified to be necessary to ensure high-quality end products, like routine quality assurance. A VSM enables the project team to visualize the project areas that need to be optimized or improved. This will also help reduce project waste and provide a clear picture of overall progress.

Develop Flow

Project resource wastes refer to steps or activities that consume project resources but do not add value to the overall process. There are 7 major Wastes of Lean management are Transportation, Overprocessing, Defects, Overproduction, Motion, and Waiting.

Establish Pull System

A typical pull system example for a development project is the To-Do, In Progress, Done pipeline. Tasks that are still to be accomplished are queued in the To-Do lane, tasks that are currently being worked on are In Progress, while those that are completed are in the Done lane.

Having this system established for each member of the team ensures a streamlined workflow. From a high-level perspective, having this system in place shows the progress of the project and can provide insight as to the timeline for completion of the project.

Continuous Improvement


There are tangible benefits to the implementation of Lean management:

  • Reduced lean and turnaround timelines
  • Decreased operational (inventory, storage) and overall costs
  • Reduced project resource waste
  • Increased efficiency and productivity
  • Improved consumer-focused product quality
  • Increased customer satisfaction.


Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) Cycle

Kanban for Lean Management

Kanban promotes visualizing and improving the workflow to increase efficiency and productivity. Its core principles are:

  • Start with current tasks
  • Implement small but incremental changes
  • Recognize established processes, roles, and responsibilities
  • Empowerment at all organizational levels

In practice, Kaban is implemented through:

  1. Workflow visualization
  2. Work-in-progress limits establishment
  3. Workflow management over people management
  4. Clear process policy establishment
  5. Feedback mechanism implementation
  6. Collaborative growth

Kaizen and Kairyo

Gemba Walk

  1. What tasks or activities were completed yesterday?
  2. What are the tasks or activities to be worked on today?
  3. What are the tasks or activities expected to be completed today?
  4. What were the challenges encountered during yesterday’s work?
  5. What were the solutions to the problems encountered?
  6. What was the cause of the challenges encountered?


Outsourcing projects require effective project management tools and methods to be successful and sustainable. Modern Lean management tools and methods make outsourcing more streamlined and more convenient for the project team and stakeholders. Implementing Lean software development management processes lead to:

  • Improved product quality
  • Reduced project development timeline
  • Reduced operational costs
  • Decrease project waste

By Guest Author: Anastasia Stefanuk:

This article was originally published on the Red Branch Media blog by Anastasia Stefanuk.



Chief Marketing Brain of @RedBranch Media. I help folks in recruiting, talent acquisition and HR, figure out marketing, community and social. #TBEX #TChat

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Maren Hogan

Chief Marketing Brain of @RedBranch Media. I help folks in recruiting, talent acquisition and HR, figure out marketing, community and social. #TBEX #TChat