“I get what you are saying about lean projects and lean delivery, but in my industry (usually government, healthcare, pharma), we have all of these rules. Some of them are important rules. We can’t just focus on any individual project, we have to keep in mind the system and our legacy investments.”
It’s a reasonable argument. And it’s the argument that gets many projects in trouble. In every company there are a set of rules, processes, budgets, structures, methods, etc. that burden each project and increase its cost and schedule while decreasing its risk of success. We’ve heard these called the “Work Prevention Processes.” And, if you are in an industry with slow change, slow adoption of technology and weak competition, this is of course fine (perhaps many governmental organizations fit this description). Many of these organizations will have projects that aren’t necessarily strategic and that aren’t critical for survival. But, when speed, innovation and competition are important, these rules and structures get in the way.
My argument was not that you should be lean and agile on all projects… only on the ones that matter.