Lean in to Lean

by Elise Stevens | Futureproof Your Career Podcast

You’ve likely come across Lean principles and methodology before – reducing waste without sacrificing productivity and determining what adds value by removing everything that doesn’t.

But in this podcast, Elise Stevens speaks with start-up consultant Anar Umurzakova about how you can apply these business principles to your own career and become an expert at implementing Lean in your life.

Anar has 16 years of project management experience at various organizations such as Accenture, the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and her own consultancy, GOPM. 

Lean skills are in demand – whether your organisation has a structured approach to Lean or not, we can all improve the way we approach our work and our work with others by leaning in to Lean.

Points raised in this podcast:

  • Lean is about removing waste; ensuring you have a robust process which means you only have to look at things once.
  • Lean techniques ensure that quality is maintained with minimal effort.
  • Lean gives answers to people who want useful documentation but don’t want to spend a lot of time on it.
  • When considering Lean principles in any business, first and foremost, the customer is crucially important. Talking to the customer about their wants and needs, aspirations and problems will ensure your vision is correct. Secondly, Lean principles help you identify duplicates in your internal processes.
  • It is common for start-ups to have multiple founders who want to be involved in everything. Where possible, they should try to have faith in each other and trust each other enough that they don’t all feel they have to deal with all areas of the business.
  • Start-ups evolve rapidly – no matter how fine-tuned the processes are, they will change every six months or more. Finding a process is difficult when you are always living with change.
  • Entrepreneurs should avoid thick, hefty documents like business plans, project management plans, communication plans etc, and instead opt for Lean canvases. These are one-page, living documents that contain all the information that’s essential to the business.
  • No matter where you are trying to implement Lean, it is best to start small and take things slowly.

About Anar:

Anar Umurzakova, is Director and a Trainer at GOPM start-up consultancy firm in the Greater Washington Area, with over 16 years of professional project management experience in various organizations such as Accenture, the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and GOPM consultancy.

Anar is Presidential Scholar of the Republic of Kazakhstan, graduated with a Master of Science in Project Management from The George Washington University, and is a PMP and PRINCE2 Practitioner. Currently, she focuses on helping young entrepreneurs work their start-up ideas and learn business skills.

Anar is a frequent speaker at PMI Symposiums and webinars in the Greater Washington DC area. She is also a host of podcast “Open School of Business”, where she interviews prominent figures in business and entrepreneurship.

You can connect with Anar on LinkedIn.