Evaluating the application of lean principles to improve project performance at Eskom KZNOU.
Eskom’s financial sustainability is at risk which makes their project delivery model all the more important. At present there are numerous challenges and problems facing Eskom, especially with project performance at the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Operating Unit. The leading yardstick for success of any project is to deliver the project within cost and time parameters. Lean project management is a new management practice that has been successfully implemented in many companies and industries with remarkable success. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the applicability of lean principles with the aim of increasing the likelihood of project success within the ambit of project management principles. This study investigates the applicability of implementing lean principles effectively in the project environment of Eskom. Firstly, the study examines the current understanding of project management as executed in Eskom. Secondly, the research assessed the appreciation of lean principles through a survey that was conducted at the company. The research revealed that 83% of the respondents were not aware of lean technologies; however 94% of them agreed that lean principles can be used to improve project delivery and performance. The survey presented some of the lean tools that have been used effectively in the execution of projects, which include continuous improvement, reduction in variability, work standardisation, housekeeping and being customer centered. The research highlighted that some of the lean principles are not being fully implemented; and they need to be improved in order to increase project performance. Simultaneously, some of the lean principles are being implemented within the current project management processes; however the principles need to be reviewed and improved upon. In light of the challenging times in which Eskom finds itself, it would be prudent to consider implementing lean principles within the project management environment. It is recommended that Eskom review their current project management principles to include lean principles in the execution of projects. The application of lean principles would definitely assist in eliminating wasteful processes in the project activities and will contribute in projects being completed on time and within budget.