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The evolution of Project Management (PM): How Agile, Lean and Six Sigma are changing PM

Silvia Gubinelli, Vittorio Cesarotti, Vito Introna


The pressure for speed, technical or design complexity increase interactions and high complexity of projects. Conventional techniques quickly become inadequate.

The literature of the last twenty years about project management (PM), suggests that the evolution of PM Techniques will be driven by theories from Operational Excellence (OE).

The OE technique, as Lean, Agile and Six Sigma, grows the awareness that reducing variation in workflow allows both time and cost to be reduced.

OE approaches and tools enriches PM techniques and proposes the way to reduce wastes and add value in their project performance culture by encouraging teams to work together in a more transparent and collaborative way, facilitating the effective project deployment and organization for minimizing resources, costs, durations and risks.

This contamination would make PM techniques be more effective in managing current projects, where the context affects the weight-cost-quality triangle.

The aim of this paper is to evaluate the contamination of Lean, Agile and Six Sigma in the traditional approach to project management. This paper highlights how the traditional approaches to PM suggest the steps to carry out, while the techniques acquired by operational excellence (as Lean, Agile and Six Sigma) give suggestions on “how” to perform the steps proposed. The merging of the different techniques, based on the context characteristics, seems a concrete answer to the current problems of the PM.


Project Management, Lean Project Management, Agile Project Management, DMAIC



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