Myth: Lean project management requires no documentation

A big misconception is that agile project teams don’t generate or use any documentation. Lean project management emphasizes the importance of face-to-face meetings and the value of working software over comprehensive documentation. This has led to the myth that project teams in lean project management don’t create or use any documentation and instead work completely informally.

It's just a myth

This is one of the most widespread myths about lean project management. In actuality, the focus is on creating only useful documentation, to avoid wasting resources and time. For every project, an organization requires that you document plans and have them approved before work proceeds. Even if the Agile Manifesto defines “values working software over comprehensive documentation”, this doesn’t imply that teams in lean project management don’t need to create any documents at all. Lean project management requires just enough documentation. Creating unnecessary documentation is considered a waste of valuable development time.

Bad examples for documents representing waste:
• formal change requests
• detailed design plans
• scope statements
• lists of items that are likely to change
• minutes of team meetings

Good examples of documents that are considered necessary:
• backlogs
• task boards
• user stories
• burndown charts

These track customer requirements and a team’s progress in meeting them. It is possible to apply lean project management while still meeting company requirements for specific documentation. We just have to be aware to keep the documentation to a minimum, including only the level of detail likely to be needed during a project.
Instead of drafting a 10-page communications management plan, for instance, you might create a one-page table that simply lists stakeholders with their roles, levels of involvement in the project, and contact details.

Establish systemic methods for the elimination of waste within a manufacturing process. Enroll in the Certified Lean Project Manager®

All rights reserved | International Business and Quality Magement Institute LCC® 2015