How to increase your business agility with Lean PPM

In today's VUCA world, agility is the order of the day. Because volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous framework conditions require new management styles and project methods. Hybrid forms of project business are also gaining ground in project management offices - classic project management is increasingly being expanded to include agile approaches.  

Learn everything you need to know about Lean PPM as a mindset and framework in this Capture blog post:

  • How can classic project organisations contribute to more business agility?
  • What distinguishes lean PPM from other agile project methods?
  • How do PPM solutions support a lean project organisation?

Agile transformation and the human success factor

In the face of advancing digitalisation, one thing has become clear:  The success of successful business transformations does not stand or fall with the maturity of available technologies, but is decided by the human factor. Organisations that succeed in convincing their employees to break their silo thinking and put customer value above all else generate five times higher margins thanks to shorter time-to-market. To achieve this, however, new ways of working are needed. Agile frameworks such as SAFe and derived from it Lean PPM offer appropriate orientation.

Lean PPM Pyramid

Agile Project Management Offices as a turbo of corporate agility 

As a cross-team steering body, project management offices have the opportunity to have a particularly strong influence on the degree of business agility through Lean PPM. To do this, they must first internalise agile values in their own team and apply agile methods, in order to then ideally also be able to act as an agile coach for self-organised project teams ("squads").

  • Evaluate projects according to customer benefit

PMOs should evaluate projects, products, or initiatives according to the expected customer benefits. This requires regular customer feedback. Prototypes instead of sophisticated project plans change the roadmap planning of agile companies and require ongoing screening and quick adaptation of the original work packages.

  • Identify and model value streams

Lean PPM focuses on reducing complexity in process flows. Value-adding activities are identified, and their execution is improved to the maximum. The goal is to eliminate everything that hinders business agility.

  • Promote self-autonomy of the project teams

Agile PMOs will have to deal with project groups working with different standards in the future. This is because, depending on the scope and content of the tasks, there are different best practices for the optimal result. Lean PPM, however, provides for teamwork to be analysed and the lessons learned to be passed on as recommendations or, depending on the organisation, as new mandatory processes.

  • Using PMOs as a stabiliser for corporate governance

Business agility requires freedom for executive staff and reduces the control options of decision-makers. However, this decentralisation can also be safely controlled with new forms of reporting. PMOs are responsible for supporting their top management with business-relevant recommendations for action. Agile reporting is characterised by real-time data and performance measurement systems based on agile values, which can be flexibly adapted as needed.

Best practice Lean PPM in an insurance company

Lean PPM insurance industry

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Despite strict compliance guidelines, a corporate group radically streamlined its comprehensive framework for project implementation with Lean PPM within a few months. Initially, detailed project plans were dispensed with for selected innovation projects. Instead, they relied on user stories and epics. This made it possible to leave open what was actually implemented in the course of the work period. The regular feedback loops could still significantly change the final result.

The tedious time recording of project activities was reduced to a minimum. Instead, a pilot project on OKRs was launched: the teams were given measurable targets. The PMO accompanied the process and derived new project standards after the successful pilot, which were expanded, adapted, and sometimes discarded in further agile projects.

The biggest challenge for the PMO was to optimise and legitimise investments in a fluid setup. Scenario calculations and agile forecasts directly from the individual teams helped to develop a modus operandi also with regard to hard business metrics.

Lean PPM and agile project methods

Lean PPM has an important organisational function in an agile context. Lean PPM is based on agile values but is not itself an agile project method like Scrum or Kanban. Lean PPM tries to identify recurring success factors in product and service development processes and transfer them again into simplified standards. It is also applicable in a business environment that is still predominantly oriented towards the waterfall model and represents an effective approach for all organisations to increase the degree of business agility.

PPM solutions: The switch from the waterfall model to Agile 

The pace and extent of agilisation can vary greatly depending on the industry and company. In practice, it can also be observed that some companies return to systematic process flows with more control instances after more or less long efforts to create more agile structures. It is therefore all the more important to have PPM software solutions in place that do not force your process organisation into a project method. With ServiceNow, you can incrementally develop your PMO towards more agility without having to use new tools. 

Capture Deep Dive: SAFe und PPM

Are you ready to focus on more business agility and are convinced that your PMO could be a key facilitator for this? We are happy to support you in aligning your digital and agile transformation with one platform. Deepen your research on Lean PPM with our expert webinar and get an all-around overview of ServiceNow Strategic Portfolio Management.


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