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Waste management

The following article is a sample from the full BVOP™ Ultimate Guide and is part of the preparation for the BVOP™'s modern Agile Project Management Certification Program.

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

Major causes of waste

Major waste may include:

  • Too much planning
  • Wrong 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 too extensive documentation
  • Rejection of ready work that could be accepted

Too much planning

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

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

Wrong or not validated planning

Wrong planning or planning that is not validated with teams, project participants, or other stakeholders.

Validating plans with stakeholders 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 that all research topics and desired results be pre-defined, discussed, validated, and tested with 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 of 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, process and work results, disinformation, and any misunderstood information.

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

Poor communication

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

Following communication plans and procedures and 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 with users and stakeholders.

Poor production

Poor production may be intentional or unintentional. It may be caused by factors such as time-pressured teams, wrong time and resource estimates, an 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 waste of different types.

Overwork or perfectionism

The context of overwork as waste is taking too much attention, time, and effort on tasks that are practically complete, but teams are not aware of this and continue to work on them.

The context of perfectionism as waste is the denial of team members to stop working on assignments due to personal beliefs that work is not well completed.

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 too extensive documentation

Inaccurate, incomplete, or incomprehensible documentation may cause development delays or incorrect development. Excessive and heavy documentation may cause difficulties in using, searching for information, and the need for assistance when using documentation.

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

Rejection of ready work that could be accepted

Rejection of ready work that could be accepted may lead to re-work and loss of resources and time. Rejection of ready work 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 work done while approval and accepting parties reject it, negotiations, users, and quality tests and analyzes may need be done to prove the work readiness and quality.

Such activities, negotiations, and retests may be resource-intensive, so all project stakeholders have to take such scenarios into account and be prepared for them.

Waste reduction

The Business Value-Oriented Project Management (BVOPM) office should consider any possible waste, monitor their 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 approaches to 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.

Waste Management in Project Management practices
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