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In today's day and age, the organisations are putting so much efforts into bringing their schedules, operations, and budgets in line. For that purpose, they are implementing numerous approaches. However, the right solution to their problem is lean project management. Its efficiency and effectiveness have been proven in many research works and studies. Lean project management aims at removing the redundant processes from the process chain, thereby saving a lot of time and assisting in the timely completion of the project. In this report, the ways of implementing the lean approach in organising the FIFA World Cup 2018 will be explained. Before explaining the lean approach in the organisation of an important world sporting event, terms like Voice of the Customer (VOC), Critical to Customer Requirements (CCR), and Critical to Quality Parameters (CTQ) will be elaborated. In the last, processes that support the lean methodology, such as PMBOK, Agile Practices, Lean Six Sigma, PRINCE2, Organisational Project Management will be elucidated.

Overview of the Event

The world’s 21st FIFA World Cup will be organised in Russia among the men’s national football teams of 32 nations. The event took place from 14 June to 15 July 2018. The overall estimated cost of the event will be $14.2 billion and it will be the most expensive event in the history. The overall event comprised 64 matches that will be organised in 12 venues in 11 different cities of Russia. The most unique feature regarding FIFA 2018 is that it will implement “video assistant referee (VAR) system.

Understanding the Lean Project Management

Lean project management is the approach that makes use of certain data-driven processes, tools, and management instruments in order to manage events or a project. It focuses more on the continuous improvement of the process. The lean management approaches heavily emphasise quality, data analysis, empowering interdepartmental team work, increasing the customer values, efficiently using the resources, and eliminating the waste. There are many tools for lean project management, such as PMBOK, Agile Practices, Lean Six Sigma, PRINCE2, and Organisational Project Management that focus on rigorous visual documentation tools, process improvement, and ongoing analysis in order to eliminate waste (Brioso, X. 2015).

As a part of the project management, there is a strong need for understanding the following term in the context of the event:-

Voice of the Customer (VOC) - It is the process to grab and understand the demands, feedbacks, and requirements of the customers in order to serve them with a quality service. The approach is all about acting proactive and consistently innovating in order to address the ever-changing demands of the customers. For a successful world event like the FIFA World Cup 2018, customer-focused services are vital. In order to understand and deliver them high-value services, the lean project management emphasises on determining what value means to them. Customers may seek different services that are cost-effective, safe and secure, available to them readily, high-quality, and comply with the rules and standards (Pons, 2018).These demands can be either unstated or stated desires of the customers which can be captured by numerous methods, such as interview, direct discussions, focus groups, observation, customer specifications, reports, complaint,logs, and much more. The project manager can make use of such type of data in order to determine the quality of service needed or seek by the customers, thereby incorporating the desired changes in the process or service.

Since the motive behind the FIFA World Cup 2018 is to make each and every customer happy and stress-free, the project manager puts the spectators first and emphasises in delivering values to them. Each and every programme will be organised envisioning the football fans as the pivot for them.(Poppendieck & Cusumano, 2012).Through the VOC approach, the management is focusing on adding values for the customers. In order to make the overall event successful, the government is planning to deliver the values to the football fanatics through free travel guides and visa waivers. This way the Russian government can make them satisfied and can change the overall outcome of the grand football event.

Critical to Customer Requirements (CCR) - The FIFA World Cup 2018 is the world level event and people from all over the world are going to visit Russia. Therefore, customers' expectations will be very high. As it is already mentioned that FIFA 2018 will solely focus on delivering high values to the patrons and football fanatics. A majority of customers seek cost-effective, safe and secure, available to them readily, high-quality, and comply with the rules and standards, these can be classified as CCR. If these conditions, requirements or wants are not fulfilled, then this would lead to poor customer satisfaction. Customers can deny purchasing the service if their expectations are not fulfilled. The final decisions are dependent on an intricate system of CCR. To determine the critical customer requirements, the project manager should first convert the Voice of Customer data (VOC) into key consumer issues and associate consumer requirements. For that purpose, the management organising the FIFA World Cup 2018 should use the stated and unstated demands of the customers gathered from the Voice of the Customer. Once this is done, the key issues that usually customers face are determined. The next step is to determine the customer requirement in the context of each key issues faced by the customer.

Managing Lean Project 2

To make the FIFA World Cup 2018 a grand successful event, the project managers must make sure that the event is planned considering at least one of those four areas. This happens in any case, the event would thrive for sure.

Critical to Quality parameters (CTQ) - After understanding the VOC and CCR, it is important to understand the Critical to Quality outputs (CTQs). In the context of FIFA World Cup 2018, these are the characteristics and features of services who specifications and performance must match with the standards in order to satisfy the customers. These outputs are defined by both internal and external customer. These characteristics may consist of lower and upper limits of specifications. Usually, the CTQs are determined from the customer statement recorded during interviews or surveys. These CTQs are very crucial for the success of the world level events like the FIFA World Cup 2018 to understand and fulfil the customers’ needs. There is a well-planned procedure for translating the VOC into CTQs. The flowchart given below is the way of doing so:-

Managing Lean Project 2

The most important point to note here is that the effectiveness of the process of converting the VOC into CTQs. The impact of poor quality and vague data can be very dreadful for the success of a global event like FIFA 2018. It can cause a delay in the project and operations. The project manager should ensure the relevancy of the data(Špundak, 2014).

  • Lean Project Management in FIFA World Cup 2018 - FIFA World Cup is one of the greatest and biggest sports events with the highest media coverage in modern time. The key factors that can contribute to making this a grand success are the lean project management. FIFA World Cup 2018 is a project because it is temporary and short-term activity is undertaken to produce certain outcomes. In the context of which, certain lean project management goals have been defined that are given below (Fernandez & Fernandez, 2015):-
  • Finish Well on Time - The biggest race of FIFA World Cup 2018 organiser is with time. The project requirements are related to the customer's requirements that often change. Therefore, the scope of the project keeps changing. Lean project management is very effective in finishing a project well on time as it eliminates the redundant process that consumes resources and time.
  • Maintain and Promote Team Work - The lean approach emphasises more on teamwork rather than individualism. The idea is to bring two or more people with complementary skills together in order to achieve the project goals. This increases the team productivity and saves a lot of time. According to the Local Organising Committee, nearly 70% of the Russian population will be engaged in order to organise the event on time. With so many people, the cross-departmentalism would be needed.
  • Deliver Value to the Football Fans -The overall project is revolving around the demands of the football spectators. If they are not satisfied, then the whole purpose of organising the game is irrelevant. In order to understand and deliver them high-value services, the lean project management emphasises on determining what value means to them (Howell&Koskela, 2012).
  • Stay within the Budget - The overall budget allocated for the FIFA World Cup 2018 is $14.2 billion which is quite a big amount handed over to the project managers. Staying within the budget is very challenging and it puts pressure on the project managers. For this purpose, the overall budget has been bifurcated into government and private funding. This way the lean project management assists in making the event possible within the budget.
  • Accomplish the Project Requirements - The lean project management aims at meeting each and every requirement of the project irrespective of its significance. These needs and requirements are crucial for satisfying the customer's need to achieve customer satisfaction (Špundak, 2014). In the context of the event, the requirement is that the World Cup should inspire and connect the whole world via the game of soccer.

In the context of the World Cup, there are five principles of lean project management that are enlisted below:-

  • Identification of customers value
  • Defining a value statement
  • Developing flow by removing waster
  • Responding to consumer pull value
  • Pursuing perfection

To organise a successful FIFA World Cup 2018, the project managers should implement the following five principles that will help in eliminating the waste continuously.

Processes that Support Lean Project Management

PMBOK - This stands for Project Management Body of Knowledge and was developed by the Project Management Institute (PMI). This is a set of standards instead of a well-defined methodology. These standards break down the whole lean project management into 5 stages, namely conception, and initiation, plan, execute, perform, monitor, and close. In context fo FIFA World Cup 2018, PMBOK highlights certain quality management practices and principles. Since the spectators in FIFA seeks quality services, it can provide some guidance to improve the quality and eliminate the issues that affect the project. PMBOK can be applied on projects of any scale or size or managed by a team or an individual. These guidelines initially emphasise on nine knowledge areas, such as Project Integration, Cost Management, Project Management, Scope Management, Quality Management, Time Management, Risk Management, Human Resource Management, Communication Management, and Procurement Management.

Managing Lean Project 2

PMBOK can be highly effective in case of lean project management of the FIFA World Cup 2018 as it emphases heavily on managing a project in a quality way. Since FIFA gives a large importance to the spectators and customers, PMBOK can help the managing committee in this. It gives a high importance to the customer and does a very good job in determining and understanding the needs of the customers. PMBOK also stresses on communicating the needs of the customers to all the stakeholders of the FIFA World Cup 2018.

PRINCE2 - This tool was developed by the British Government in the late 1980s. PRINCE2 is an abbreviation for Project IN Controlled Environment. It can be used in organising the FIFA World Cup 2018 because of its project-oriented approaches in managing such a billion dollar project. It stresses and defines certain steps and responsibilities (Timans,, 2015).The project manager can employ this lean management tool in every aspect of a project, such as planning, cost structuring, cost analysis, risk identification and mitigation due to its robust framework. It was designed for large-scale business projects. PRINCE2 consists of certain well-defined principles and processes that can be used in managing an event. The advantages and disadvantages of PRINCE2 are many (Poppendieck & Cusumano, 2012).In order to apply the project management approaches on a large scale project like FIFA World Cup 2018, a set of principles are applied on PRINCE2. These principles are mentioned below:-

  • Stressing more on products
  • Managing exceptions
  • Defining roles and responsibilities
  • Learning from experience
  • Continuing business justification
  • Tailoring to fit in the project environment
  • Managing every stage

Managing Lean Project 2

Since the past mistakes and experiences are included in the future planning, PRINCE2 is an apt tool for lean project management. It improvises the project progress, eliminates the chances of error, and include the knowledge from the experts. However, there are many disadvantages of PRINCE2. It is a very controlled and highly rigid approach. Therefore, it cannot be used in small projects or with smaller teams because they don’t have enough resources or time to carry out a lengthy procedure. Hence, for the large event like FIFA World Cup, it can be used.

Organisational Project Management (OPM) - According to the Project Management Institute (PMI), OPM is one of the many strategically-focused frameworks that aimed at utilising, program, project, and portfolio. It enables the organisations to produce better performance, good outcomes, and achieve a sustainable competitive position. It makes use of processes, knowledge, tools, techniques, and standards set by PMI in order to develop a platform from which an organisation can hone their capabilities to meet the distinct requirements of the customers. To execute each and every function related to organising FIFA World cup, OPM combines knowledge with processes and talent. This contributes together resulted in strategy execution framework. OPM aligns the functions and operations carried out by the LOC undertaking the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia, in order to maximize the delivery of services. This way OPM can harmonise the overall strategic goals associated with the FIFA 2018.

Agile Practices - The meaning of agile is acting sleekly and lightly. In the context of FIFA World Cup 2018, the term is associated with the pace of the operations within a project and pace of responding to the customers. Agile practices are often associated with reducing the risk by iterating the projects in order to get the meaningful results. The basic idea behind this computer-operated task is to minimise the use of written documents as a mode of communication. It takes a lot of time while writing down the requirements in a paper, get it signed by the authority, and then receiving what was demanded (Alleman, 2015). Since the FIFA World Cup 2018 needs speedy processes that are technologically-driven and executed. Agile practices provide the desired effect to get the work done well on time. There are many agile practices, such as backlog grooming, code refactoring, and acceptance criteria-driven development. The backlog grooming helps in preparing the whole team of FIFA 2018 for the sprint planning meeting (Pons, 2018). The refactoring of the codes can assist in addressing and eliminating the technical debts. Moreover, the acceptance criteria minimise the probability of defects, thereby making the process leaner. There are both advantages and disadvantages of using the agile practices. These practices make a team super flexible and efficient by accepting the uncertainties. However, the downside of these practices is that they required a high collaboration at each stage of changes. That requires a stable mode of communication.

Lean Six Sigma - According to this, if the Local Organising Committee (LOC) of FIFA World Cup 2018puts a strong focus on reducing the variation in the processes, then it will be able to resolve process problems. Various statistical tools can be used to understand the fluctuations occurring in a process and from the results obtained from them can serve as an aid for the management in predicting the outcome of the processes (Timans,, 2015). In case the results are unsatisfactory, other associated tools can also be made into use in order to further explore the elements influencing that particular process. Using a structured and robust investigation methodology, one can completely understand the process elements. The only assumption is that the outcome of the whole process improves by lowering down or controlling the fluctuations of multiple elements. Six Sigma comprises five steps, namely: define, measure, analyse, improve, and control (DMAIC Methodology).

Six Sigma is established on two major assumptions. First, of which is, people working in the organising committee of FIFA 2018 clearly understand the fact that numeric figures can also represent the characteristics and features of a process. They must contemplate that a strong grasp over-interpreting data and carrying out data analysis can be used to suggest improvements. In addition, to provide a new perspective on the process, graphical representations of data can turn out be quite useful. Another assumption is that by reducing the variations or fluctuating factors of all the operations, the organisation's overall performance improves (Nave, 2012).


In the following project report, a thorough discussion was done on lean project management in the context of a grand global sports event. Lean project management aims at removing the redundant processes from the process chain, thereby saving a lot of time and assisting in the timely completion of the project. In this report, the ways of implementing the lean approach in organising the FIFA World Cup 2018 were explained. Before explaining the lean approach in the organisation of an important world sporting event, terms like Voice of the Customer (VOC), Critical to Customer Requirements (CCR), and Critical to Quality Parameters (CTQ) were elaborated. In the last, processes that support the lean methodology, such as PMBOK, Agile Practices, Lean Six Sigma, PRINCE2, and Organisational Project Management were talked about.


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