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Building a Project-Driven Enterprise Print
- How to Slash Waste and Boost Profits Through Lean Project Management
By Ronald Mascitelli

Out of a 10 hour working day, how many add value to your project?
In many cases, asserts author Ronald Mascitelli, this can be as little as 1.5 hours

Hardback, 350 pages approx.
ISBN: 0-9662697-1-3

Book review by Jeb Riordan

The purpose of the book is to teach how to strip the waste out of a project team's daily activities, while achieving the highest possible quality and value.
The audience includes anyone who wishes to become more time efficient, including project managers, their team leaders, functional managers and improvement champions

The book is jampacked with examples taken from real life of time and resource wasting processes which have become ingrained in our current mindsets.
The author also includes question sessions, step by step instructions and fictional situations to hold the readers interest as well as aids for understanding.

The book is divided into four parts.

Part 1 focuses on the principles that drive project efficiency.
The author has identified Five Principles of Lean Thinking.

  • Specify the value of the project: Where value is anything that the Customer is willing to pay for.
  • Identifying the "value stream of a project: The sequence of activities that create project deliverables.
  • Allow the "value stream" to flow unhindered: By removing the obstacles.
  • Let the Customer "pull value" from the project:
  • Continuously pursue perfection: The never ending search for and elimination of waste.


As the author asserts, "The five principles of lean thinking are not rocket science. They represent the essential conditions needed to achieve both market acceptance and operational excellence.
Despite their unassuming appearance there is great power in these simple words."

The author describes "time batches" and the "Just In Time" principle and suggests ways to minimise the time batches and maximise just in time information flow.
He continues by describing the cause and effects of transaction costs and ways to eliminate them.
Standardised work methods is encouraged. He describes the four levels of standardised work methods; standard methods, templates and guides, checklists and work rules and warns that selecting the right level is critical to gaining maximum benefits from standardisation.

Part 2 describes the Methods of Lean Project Management.
A 12 method toolbox for speed and efficiency.

  • Method 1: Testing for Customer value
  • Method 2: Linked tasks and Customer-Defined deliverables
  • Method 3: Urgency-Driven stand-up meetings
  • Method 4: Real / Virtual project rooms
  • Method 5: The waste-free design review
  • Method 6: Staged-Freeze specifications
  • Method 7: Visual control and communications
  • Method 8: Standard work methods and templates
  • Method 9: Risk-buffering and the critical "core"
  • Method 10: Dedicated-Time staffing and the "superteam"
  • Method 11: The reservation system
  • Method 12: The value-added scorecard


Easy to adopt but how many of us practice them in our daily work?
For example, co-location of team members is clearly advantageous as a means for encouraging intra-team communication. The author suggests that distance between members, affects the probability of communication to the extent that if team members are greater than 20 feet apart the probability of them communicating at least once per week is less than 15% while if they sit 60 feet apart the probability of them communicating at least once per week is less than 5%.

Part 3 focuses on the special case of new product development.
By applying the 12 lean methods, the author shows how to build an optimal, repeatable development process.
Interestingly, he asserts that the matrix organisation of modern industry doesn't work; that the first real breakthrough in defining effective cross-functional product development was the the introduction of decision "gates" and even that could do with a Lean Project Management overhaul!

Part 4 discusses the mandate for a project driven enterprise,
the need for a culture of discipline, optimising organisation structures, how to handle rewards and recognition and how to prioritise projects.

The concluding chapter describes a step by step process for slashing waste by following the Lean Project management "Maturity Model" and adopting the methods in the toolbox.

Sound practical advise is given about how and when to implement the various tools and methods, including templates for capturing improvement ideas and determining the improvement with maximum value.

The author's energetic and conversational writing style is easy to read and is proof that he is an accomplished and creditable trainer; but is marred by the use of words like prestidigitation! (Another name for sleight of hand, quick-fingeredness, nimble: Collins Concise Dictionary)

Overall, well worth the investment and a thoughtful addition to any Christmas stocking.

2002 © Jeb Riordan

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