Lean project management software

The Lean methodology focuses on identifying value, mapping the value stream, eliminating waste to create flow, pulling the stream, and committing to continuous improvement. The Plan, Do, Check, and Act guidelines at the center of Lean project management apply to every aspect of project management. 

To enact these guidelines, teams must come together to investigate, analyze, and problem-solve. Lean project management software helps teams focus on increasing value and eliminating waste from every phase of the project.

Visual workflow

The best Lean project management software uses visual workflows to simplify project communication with at-a-glance transparency. This helps reduce confusion and streamline task management. They promote collaboration–a key Agile principle–for better problem-solving, prioritization, resource allocation, and project tracking.

Task prioritization

A core principle in Lean project management is critical path management. This is when the team identifies the most important tasks and their dependencies. The project timeline centers around critical path items to eliminate unnecessary work and wastage, keep teams focused, and reduce the time to market.

Team collaboration

The Plan, Do, Check, and Act elements of Lean project management are collaborative activities in which teams investigate and analyze issues and problem-solve together. Lean project management promotes seamless communication in each phase of the project.

Project tracking

Roadblocks are a fact of product development projects, and catching them early is the key to keeping your project on course. Lean project management’s visual project tracking makes it easier to identify roadblocks. The critical path approach allows teams to remain flexible and make timely adjustments.

Benefits of Lean project management

Better decision-making

Identifying value is the first principle of Lean project management. Pulling the stream simply means matching product development with customer demand, and this requires a clear understanding of the customer base. From this foundation, tasks, timelines, and project decisions become data-driven. For example, the number of customers who request a specific feature determines its priority in the backlog. Likewise, data from market analyses and sales projections feed value stream mapping activities that help define the roadmap. 

This method reduces the risk of not meeting customer requirements and supports strategic project planning—all of which enhances project outcomes.

Valuable insights

When teams collaborate to prioritize critical path tasks, eliminate unnecessary work, and utilize visual project workflows, it’s easier to identify bottlenecks and increase productivity. Lean project management produces valuable performance data that teams can use to improve time to market, product quality, customer satisfaction, collaboration, and more. As an example, software development teams often define key performance measures (KPIs) for quality, time to complete the project, the number of defects reported during testing, and the number of resources allocated. 

Lean project management captures the data for actionable insights on KPIs. Roadblocks, in particular, offer a rich source of information for teams to retrospectively evaluate. Are there opportunities to improve collaboration across the team, or between the development team and business stakeholders? Did customer surveys and user interviews fail to ask the right questions to fully understand the need, and did that result in rework during the project? The insights generated through Lean project management equip teams with valuable information on where and how they can improve every aspect of the product development lifecycle.

Enhanced efficiency

Lean project management helps teams operate more efficiently by eliminating unnecessary work, improving resource allocation, prioritizing the critical path, and addressing roadblocks. These activities can produce higher quality products with faster time to market. 

Continuous improvement is a foundation of Lean methodology. The decisions the team makes during the project lifecycle provide data that leads to continuous improvement opportunities. Analyzing data from a Lean project, for example, may highlight opportunities to optimize resource allocation when repetitive tasks are ordered differently. Or, perhaps the data shows that a project of similar size completed one year ago took 10% longer and generated 5% more defects during testing, illustrating an improvement in year-over-year efficiency.

Other project management approaches

Value stream management

Value stream management seeks to monitor the speed at which the project delivers requested features to the customer and whether the customer recognizes the value of those features. This type of project management methodology is similar to value stream mapping in Lean project management. However, a primary benefit of value stream management is that it specifically helps Agile and DevOps teams align around customer satisfaction.


Project management emerged from Lean project management, and both approaches deliver faster iterations, team collaboration, and the ability to respond rapidly to changing markets. While Lean focuses on eliminating waste and delivering value, Agile helps manage the uncertainty of software development by keeping teams aligned to the user’s needs.

DevOps vs. Lean

DevOps emerged from the Agile methodology, and its approach merges the development and operations teams into one, eliminating silos and allowing engineers to work across the entire product life cycle. Like Lean, DevOps promotes collaboration and continuous improvement, emphasizing team empowerment, communication, and technology automation.

Lean project management with Jira

Use Lean project management software to deliver efficient, insightful, collaborative results for your customers with Jira.

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Lean project management for software teams

Jira enables lean project managers to prioritize critical path tasks, optimize resources, and eliminate unnecessary efforts. Ranked the #1 choice for Agile development teams, Jira’s out-of-the-box reports and dashboards power data-driven decision making, streamline more efficient collaboration, and pave the way for continuous improvement.

Jira Software

Jira Software gives Lean project managers the tools for prioritizing critical path tasks, optimizing resources, and eliminating unnecessary effort. It also promotes collaboration, which is essential to Lean project management. Ranked the #1 choice of Agile development teams, Jira Software’s out-of-the-box reports and dashboards offer Lean project managers critical insights on current projects and pave the way for continuous improvement.

Jira Service Management

With Jira Service Management, Lean project managers can automate toolchains to scale team collaboration. Jira Software is the top choice of software development teams for its contextual insights, allowing for better project decision-making. Jira Service Management can help internal IT or customer-facing service teams focused on managing requests, incidents, and changes by delivering excellent service faster. It can also help human resources streamline onboarding and offboarding and respond to employee questions.

Jira Align

Lean project managers turn to Jira Align to create visual workflows, automate process flows, and align work with strategic business objectives. Jira Align moves beyond the project to help you connect investments, streamline operations, identify roadblocks, and deliver continuous value to your customers.

Lean project management is built on the concept of mapping the value stream, pacing development with customer needs, and continuously improving processes. Jira Align allows project managers to connect the strategy to value for the customer and realize outcomes faster and more reliably.