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Waste management

Waste Management in Agile Project practices

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Waste Management in Agile Project practices

The following article is part of the self-preparation for the modern BVOP® Project Management Certification program.

Any activity that does not return business value, valid outcome, desired results, or requires too many resources can be considered as waste for products, projects, organizations, and other external parties.

  1. Major causes of waste
  2. Too much planning
  3. Incorrect or not validated planning
  4. Non-productive research
  5. Wrong sourcing and recruiting
  6. Inadequate analysis and processing of data or information
  7. Poor communication
  8. Wrong production
  9. Poor production
  10. Poor testing
  11. Supply or delivery delays
  12. Overwork or perfectionism
  13. Poor or excessive documentation
  14. Rejection of completed work that could be approved
  15. Waste reduction

Major causes of waste

Major waste may include:

  • Too much planning
  • Incorrect or not validated planning
  • Non-productive research
  • Wrong sourcing and recruiting
  • Inadequate analysis and processing of data or information
  • Poor communication
  • Wrong production
  • Poor production
  • Poor testing
  • Supply or delivery delays
  • Overwork or perfectionism
  • Poor or excessive documentation
  • Rejection of completed work that could be approved

Too much planning

Planning and attempting to plan unforeseen situations and events that are not subjected to detailed and accurate planning.

An approach to avoiding this situation is to plan resources and time in detail only for activities and productions, which require it. The rest may only need high-level planning. Phased planning can also be applied.

Incorrect or not validated planning

Incorrect planning or planning that is not validated by teams, project participants, or other stakeholders.

The participation of stakeholders in the validation process can lead to more accurate estimates of resources or events.

Non-productive research

Non-Productive research may lead to mistakes in the future.

Avoiding this problem may require all research topics and desired results to be pre-defined, discussed, tested, and validated by internal and external stakeholders, potential or actual users, and other interested parties.

Wrong sourcing and recruiting

Inappropriately formed teams and hired personnel.

To avoid this, involving representatives from development teams in the process of forming and expanding teams and recruiting staff may be necessary. Defining accurate, clear, and understandable criteria for sourcing and recruitment may be helpful.

Inadequate analysis and processing of data or information

May include incorrect and inadequate data analysis from surveys, statistics, processes and work results, misinformation, and any misunderstood information.

Requirements for adequate data analysis may be proper structuring, presentations, clarity, training, and accuracy of the presented information.

Poor communication

Slow communication, lack of communication, and inefficient communication can be considered as major waste.

Following communication plans and procedures, tracking speed and communication effectiveness are ways to prevent waste caused by poor communication. The Business Value-Oriented Project Management (BVOPM) office may need to mentor and coach teams, departments, and stakeholders about the importance of communication. 

Wrong production

The wrong production may include defects, abnormal development caused by misunderstood specifications, or improperly developed parts of the product.

Methods to prevent a wrong production may include validated and understandable specifications, prototyping, and regular product validation by users and stakeholders.

Poor production

Poor production may be intentional or unintentional. It may be caused by factors such as time-pressured teams, inaccurate timeframes and resource estimates. It can also be a result of insufficient workforce, materials, tools, and poor environments.

Careful planning and provision of project needs may minimize such negative consequences.

Poor testing

Inadequate testing may cause re-work, defects in a real environment, or lead to users' reluctance to use the product if it does not meet their needs.

Avoiding these undesirable consequences can be achieved with a detailed definition of testing methods, test scenarios, desired results, and other necessary plans.

Supply or delivery delays

A common reason for different types of waste.

Overwork or perfectionism

Overwork in the context of waste means taking too much attention, time, and effort for tasks that are practically complete, but teams are unaware of it and continue to work on them.

Perfectionism in the context of waste defines the denial to cease work on certain assignments due to personal dissatisfaction with the results.

Overwork or perfectionism may be a major waste if they are not appropriately controlled. While avoiding defects at any cost may be of particular importance to the product, overwork and perfectionism can cause hidden waste of resources and time.

Observing the quality and duration of work, assessing, testing, and validating the results achieved and finishing work on time can prevent overwork and perfectionism.

Poor or excessive documentation

Inaccurate, incomplete, or incomprehensible documentation may result in delayed or incorrect development. Excessive and heavy documentation may cause difficulties, which can lead to extensive information searches and frequent assistance may be needed.

Balancing documentation can be carried out by regularly discussing the needs of the documentation parameters, the needs of internal and external teams, and the teams’ actual participation. Maintaining comprehensibility, brevity, and ease of use should be a priority in document management.

Rejection of completed work that could be approved

Rejection of completed work that could otherwise be approved may lead to re-work and loss of resources and time. Rejection does not always have to be considered as an accurate judgment by the approval and accepting parties.

If teams and stakeholders accept the quality and adequacy of the work done while approval and accepting parties reject it, negotiations, quality tests, and analyses may be carried out in order to determine the work’s readiness and quality.

Such activities, negotiations, and retests may be resource-intensive, so all project stakeholders have to keep that in mind and be prepared for different scenarios.

Waste reduction

The Business Value-Oriented Project Management (BVOPM) office should consider any possible waste, monitor its occurrence, and take the necessary elimination measures quickly. Waste needs to be a regular topic in risk management. 

Each identified waste may need a specified reduction approach or multiple approaches. The Business Value-Oriented Program Management (BVOPGM) and BVOPM offices collaborate and agree on ways to deal with different waste situations.

All possible waste may be added to the project risk list and may be assigned to an owner, and be subject to monitoring, discussion, and prevention practices.

The BVOPM office may need to entirely remove a wasteful process or activity if it does not provide any value.

Educating teams, individuals, or other parties may be needed for reducing waste.

The following issues related to chapter "Waste management" are included in the certification exam. The sequence of questions is presented in the table.
The data is current as of July 17, 2024, 10:08 pm

ID Issue Time Category
0 Waste reduction 60 sec PM, PDM
1 Supply or delivery delays 60 sec PM, PDM
2 Poor communication 60 sec PM, PDM
3 Incorrect or not validated planning 60 sec PM, PDM
4 Too much planning 60 sec PM, PDM
5 Wrong production 60 sec PM, PDM
6 Inadequate analysis and processing of data or information 60 sec PM, PDM
7 Poor testing 60 sec PM, PDM
8 Overwork or perfectionism 60 sec PM, PDM
9 Major causes of waste 60 sec PM, PDM
10 Wrong sourcing and recruiting 60 sec PM, PDM
11 Poor production 60 sec PM, PDM
12 Rejection of completed work that could be approved 60 sec PM, PDM
13 Poor or excessive documentation 60 sec PM, PDM
14 Non-productive research 60 sec PM, PDM

Comments from the BVOP™ community on “Waste management”


Non-value adding activities are considered wasteful for products, projects, organizations, and external parties if they don't yield business value, desired results, or require excessive resources.

Causes of waste include excessive planning, incorrect planning, unproductive research, wrong sourcing and recruiting, inadequate data analysis, poor communication, wrong or poor production, poor testing, supply or delivery delays, overwork or perfectionism, excessive documentation, and rejection of approved work.

Too much planning can lead to over-planning for unforeseen events. To avoid this, only detailed planning should be done for necessary activities and phased planning can be used. Incorrect planning can be avoided by involving stakeholders in the validation process. Non-productive research can lead to future mistakes, so it's important to pre-define, discuss, test, and validate research topics and results with stakeholders and potential users.

Issues with sourcing, recruiting, team formation, and data analysis can lead to waste in project management. To avoid these issues, involve development team representatives in recruitment and team formation and define clear criteria for sourcing. Adequate data analysis requires proper structure, clarity, training, and accuracy. Poor communication, including slow or inefficient communication, is a major waste. Following communication plans and procedures and tracking effectiveness can prevent this waste. The BVOPM office may need to mentor stakeholders on communication's importance.

Wrong production may result from defects, misunderstood specifications, or improper development. To prevent it, ensure validated and understandable specifications, prototyping, and regular validation by users and stakeholders.

Poor production may be intentional or unintentional, caused by time pressure, inaccurate estimates, insufficient resources, or poor environments. Careful planning and provision of project needs can minimize negative consequences.

Inadequate testing may cause rework, defects, or user reluctance. Avoid it with detailed testing methods, scenarios, results, and plans.

Supply or delivery delays are a common reason for waste.

Overwork and perfectionism can lead to a waste of resources and time if not controlled properly. It is important to observe the quality and duration of work, assess and validate results, and finish work on time to prevent these issues. Poor or excessive documentation can also cause delays and difficulties. Balancing documentation by discussing needs and maintaining comprehensibility, brevity, and ease of use is crucial.

Rejecting completed work that could be approved can result in wasted time and resources. However, rejection does not necessarily mean the work is inadequate. Negotiations and quality tests may be necessary to determine readiness and quality. These activities can be costly, so project stakeholders should be prepared for different scenarios.

BVOPM should monitor and eliminate any waste in project management. Waste should be a regular topic in risk management and may require specific reduction approaches. BVOPGM and BVOPM should collaborate on dealing with waste. All waste should be added to the project risk list and assigned an owner for monitoring and prevention. BVOPM may need to remove a wasteful process/activity if it provides no value. Teams and individuals may need education on reducing waste.

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